'Bows come up short at LaTech
The walking wounded known as the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team suffered yet another hurtful loss yesterday.
The latest heartbreaker came in the form of a 66-60 road loss to Louisiana Tech yesterday in the Thomas Assembly Center at Ruston, La.
The Rainbow Warriors — playing with just one experienced guard, and an injured one at that — cut an 11-point second-half deficit to two in the closing minutes.
An offensive charging call against Roderick Flemings nullified what would have been a tying basket, and LaTech went on to shoot 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to secure the win.
"Nobody gave us a chance to win this game and we had the game tied at the end if not for that call," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "Who knows what happens if that call goes our way. We're pleased with the effort, but we can't take any solace in the fact that we didn't come up with the win."
The 'Bows have now lost six in a row and are 9-15 overall and 2-9 in the Western Athletic Conference. They remain in eighth place, a half-game ahead of Boise State, which dropped to 2-10 with a loss at Nevada last night.
LaTech improved to 20-5 overall and moved into a tie for second place in the WAC at 8-3. The Bulldogs own two victories over the 'Bows this season.
Hiram Thompson, playing with a sore left shoulder, finished with team-highs of 14 points and seven assists while playing all 40 minutes for the 'Bows.
Flemings added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Brandon Adams finished with 12 points and six rebounds for Hawai'i.
Junior guards Dwain Williams (indefinite suspension) and Jeremy Lay (out for the season due to hernia surgery) did not make the trip with the 'Bows.
In their absence, the 'Bows relied primarily on forwards Flemings and Adhar Mayen to help Thompson in the backcourt.
"We did things by committee, and I thought the guys did a fabulous job of sticking with the game plan," Nash said. "We turned it into a slow game and stayed in our zone (defense) and that put us in position to be in the game at the end."
The Bulldogs had a 45-34 lead with 11:23 remaining in the game, but the 'Bows cut it to 55-53 on a jump shot by Mayen with 2:38 remaining.
On Hawai'i's next possession, Flemings received the ball in the low-post and turned into LaTech's Kyle Gibson as he made the shot.
The potential tying basket was waved off as Flemings was called for the offensive foul.
"The referee said he dropped his shoulder and bowled into Gibson," Nash said. "We saw it differently. It looked like (Gibson) flopped. But the refs have the power to make that call and we don't."
Hawai'i did not help its own cause at the free-throw line, making just 12 of 24.
"Fifty percent is terrible," Nash said.
LaTech went just 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) on free throws, but out-rebounded the 'Bows, 42-36.
Gibson led the Bulldogs with 15 points, although he shot 2 of 13 from the field. He entered the game averaging 21.3 points per game.
"Defensively, I thought we did OK," Nash said. "We held a high-scoring team like Louisiana Tech to (39.7) percent shooting and we didn't give them any fastbreak points."
The 'Bows will stay on the road for another WAC game at New Mexico State tomorrow.