UH looks to feed off of rare road win
|||Gueye comes up big at right time|
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
BOISE, Idaho — The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team will be feeling — and eating — good today.
The Rainbow Warriors finally got their breakthrough road victory, defeating Boise State, 73-64, yesterday.
"We always had confidence on the road," junior guard Matt Lojeski said. "But now it's a different kind of confidence. Now we know for sure we can do it."
A crowd of 4,140 at the Taco Bell Arena watched the 'Bows win their first road game of the season to improve to 13-8 overall and 7-4 in the Western Athletic Conference. Boise State dropped to 12-11 overall and 5-7 in the WAC with its second loss to Hawai'i this season.
The victory ended a 10-game road losing streak for Hawai'i, and kept the 'Bows one game behind the conference leaders.
"I'm really proud of the team for this one," Hawai'i coach Riley Wallace said. "The guys really stayed focused on what we had to do to win this game."
Prior to the game, Wallace promised his players he would buy them steak dinners if they came through with the road victory.
"We'll definitely take him up on it," Lojeski said. "And we'll run up a big bill, too."
Wallace said: "Of course I'm going to keep my promise. They just don't know it's coming out of their per diem."
The 'Bows earned their meal with a workman-like performance.
Senior forward Julian Sensley had 22 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead a balanced Hawai'i attack. He made two crucial 3-pointers — one with 1:13 remaining in the first half to give the 'Bows their first lead of the game, and another one with 35.5 seconds remaining in the second half to seal the victory.
Lojeski added 16 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. Ahmet Gueye had 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting, and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Deonte Tatum contributed 13 points, and Matthew Gipson collected eight rebounds.
"We came out and played together, played with a lot of energy," Tatum said. "Everybody was into the game, even the guys who didn't play."
It certainly didn't come easy. The 'Bows rallied from a 13-point deficit early in the game, and then kept the Broncos from running loose in the second half.
Boise State opened the game with a 7-0 lead and then increased it to 19-6 with 13:16 remaining in the first half.
"We didn't start firing away with wild shots, trying to get it all back," Wallace said. "We worked for some good baskets and chipped away at it."
An 11-1 run by the 'Bows put them back in the game at 20-17, and then they closed the half with a 16-5 surge in the final 5:05 to take a 38-34 lead at intermission.
Sensley's 3-pointer put Hawai'i ahead 36-34, erasing the deficit for good.
Tatum also played a key role in the first-half rally, scoring 12 points before halftime.
"I just kept seeing an opening, so I just kept going," he said of his aggressive drives to basket. "I kept seeing lanes, so I kept attacking."
Hawai'i opened the second half with an 8-2 run to increase the lead to 46-36. The Broncos never got closer than four after that.
"They did a nice job of slowing us down," Boise State head coach Greg Graham said. "At times, I don't think we played hard enough, and some times, I'm not sure we played smart enough."
The Broncos shot just 37.3 percent from the field (22 of 59), including 28.6 percent from 3-point range (8 of 28).
The 'Bows took the victory and ran. They went straight from the Taco Bell Arena to the Boise airport. They arrived in Fresno, Calif., last night and will play another WAC game at Fresno State tomorrow.
"It was a huge win because we got it on the road and everybody contributed," Lojeski said. "Now we have to take it to Fresno and keep it going."
Reach Dayton Morinaga at email@example.com.