UH men rally past Long Beach; baseball ‘Bows win opener

Boosted by reserve power, the Hawaii basketball team surged to a 78-76 victory over Long Beach State in SimpliFi Arena.

The’Bows were down 16 points in the first half and, after the intermission, trailed by as many as 15.

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“I think the story of the game tonight was our bench, ” UH coach Eran Ganot said.

Justin Hemsley, filling in when forward Casdon Jardine fell into foul trouble early and deeply, hit two big 3s, played static-cling defense on The Beach’s wings and posts, and produced 12 points and seven rebounds. Jovon McClanahan directed the offense and came up with 13 points—all in the second half. Mate Colina scored 10 points—mostly on baby hooks—and sealed the lane with two blocks and a stubborn presence.

In all, the UH built a 42-4 advantage in bench points against one of the league’s biggest rotations.

“Hemsely, Von (McClanahan ), Noel (Coleman ), Beon (Riley ) … , ” said Ganot, in listing the credits, “they did an exceptional job.”

The’Bows had closed to five points in the first half before The Beach responded with a run that resulted in a 39-30 lead at the intermission. The’Bows admittedly were flat to open the second half, as The Beach went through a progression of styles : small lineup, then big, then back to small.

“We were not ready to go, ” Ganot conceded of their starts to both halves, “and they hit us in the mouth.”

The Beach’s three-guard lineup was a triangle that left the’Bows mystified. Chance Hunter swished 3s from the wings and posted up for layups and short jumpers. Michael Carter III provided quickness on sprints into the lane. And Isaiah Washington, a double transfer who joined The Beach last summer, was a threat from all levels. For most of the game, Washington’s only deterrent was Hawaii’s humidity. Four times, Washington crumpled in pain from cramps to his right leg.

The’Bows’ comeback was ignited in the backcourt. McClanahan, a high-scoring guard in junior college, has started to find his shooting touch—and confidence. McClanahan scored on jumpers, pump-fake shots and drives as the’Bows tied it at 57, then at 64 and, with 4 :20 to play, at 69.

“JoVon ignited us, ” Ganot said. “He had a great week of practice. He earned the right to play more in the game, and he earned the right to play a long time. That’s kind of what we want from him. His aggressiveness, his ability to shoot the ball.”

It was 76-71 when McClanahan sank a shot just inside the arc.

Later, Justin Webster made a free throw for the’Bows’ 78th point with 22.4 seconds left.

With 11.8 seconds to go, Carter was fouled by Colina. Carter made the first free throw, closing The Beach to 78-76, but missed the second. Jardine made the one-handed rebound, but his outlet pass sailed out of bounds with seven seconds to play.

In the final sequence, The Beach worked the ball to Hunter, whose 3-point attempt—launched over the fast-approaching Jardine—was not true as the final horn sounded.

“I just couldn’t be more excited for the guys, ” Ganot said. “It’s our 15th league game, and we’ve been in 15 close games. I’m proud of our guys for fighting back.”

Ganot praised Webster, who suffered a non-coronavirus illness a week ago. Webster missed the second half of one game and the full rematch. But he felt better on Monday, and began practicing on Tuesday. Webster vowed to be more assertive for Friday’s game. “And that’s what I did, ” said Webster, who finished with 16 points after scoring only three in the first half.

The ‘Bows improved to 9-8 overall and 7-8 in the Big West. LBSU is 5-8 and 4-5.

University of Hawaii baseball team opens season with 3-2 win over No. 15 Arizona State

Hawaii senior Alex Baeza scored three runs, the last on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning, and the Rainbow Warrior baseball team opened the season with a 3-2 win over No. 15 Arizona State on Friday in Phoenix.

Arizona State jumped on UH right-hander Aaron Davenport for a 2-0 lead after two innings, but Baeza ignited the Rainbow rally with a home run to lead off the fifth inning. He scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the seventh and crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on freshman Aaron Ujimori’s sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.

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After giving up four hits over the first two innings, Davenport shut out the Sun Devils (2-2 ) on three hits over the next five and finished with seven strikeouts to one walk.

Freshman Austin Teixeira took over in the eighth in his UH debut and stranded runners on second and third. He stifled a two-out threat in the ninth to earn the win in UH’s first victory over the Sun Devils since 1993. Teixeira gave up two hits, walked two and struck out one in two innings of scoreless relief.

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