For the Hawaii basketball team, late lapses collapsed an energetic comeback on Friday night.
The Rainbow Warriors missed open shots and failed to cover CSU Bakersfield’s sharpshooters in a 60-55 loss in SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center.
“Tough loss, good battle, ” UH coach Eran Ganot said of the’Bows’ first home game in 26 days. “I’m trying to wrap my brain around this a little bit.”
It was a cranium scratcher for the’Bows, who navigated the Roadrunners’ menacing 94-foot press and active play in the paint.
The Roadrunners averaged 40.5 rebounds, including 15.9 off the offensive glass, in their first 11 games. But it was the’Bows who constructed a 37-34 rebounding advantage and held the Roadrunners to seven offensive boards, just two in the first half.
Led by guard Junior Madut, the’Bows had closed to 56-55 on Casdon Jardine’s 3 with 1 :42 to play.
But after inducing CSUB’s Justin Edler-Davis into misfiring, the’Bows took control—and then lost its grip, when Biwali Bayles’ skip pass sailed over Madut’s out-stretched arms.
Taze Moore, a gravity-defying guard, missed a leaning jumper, grabbed the rebound, missed again, secured the rebound, and put up another shot. The ball would not fall, but Justin McCall scored on the putback tip to make it 58-55 with 48 seconds to play.
Madut tried to answer, but his shot from beyond the arc was not true. The’Bows missed five of their last six 3s, concluding a 5-for-25 outing from deep.
Moore’s two free throws ended the drama.
“Really good on the glass, ” Ganot said of the’Bows. “Obviously, they got three straight offensive rebounds. That was more of a byproduct of a defensive lapse, which we continue to have in this short season late in games. That’s frustrating. I hope we can live and learn from it. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing guys for that.”
Madut finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds but expressed disappointment in the’Bows’ late-shooting woes.
“We had a bad shooting night tonight, something that doesn’t regularly happen to us, ” said Madut, whose’Bows entered connecting on 36.9 % of 3s. The’Bows missed all nine of their first-half 3s.
“We got good shots in the end, ” Madut said. “We just couldn’t make’em. We’re not really mad about that. There were a lot of other things we did wrong in the game that we could have fixed.”
Ganot said : “I hope we’re not a team that lives and dies by the 3. I don’t think we are. Like today, we struggled from the 3, but we out-rebounded well and defended well. That’s got to be our foundation.”
The Roadrunners, who use a 10-player rotation, provided several points of attack. Shawn Stith is a 6-foot-8, 265-pound loiterer in the paint. Stith relied on his back-back-back moves and short-range jumpers for his 13 points. He also showed his versatility whipping an across-the-lane pass for an Edler-Davis layup.
The Roadrunners’ four-guard lineup sprinted for 14 fast-break points. The Roadrunners also scored 16 points off the’Bows’
UH starting post James Jean-Marie contributed 11 points.
• Cal State Bakersfield women 64, Hawaii 57: Lexus Green hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points as Roadrunners won at home for their first Big West victory.
Jadynn Alexander (12 points), Daejah Phillips (110) and Waiakea alum Kelsie Imai (nine) led the Rainbow Wahine, who dropped their conference opener for the fifth consecutive year.