The truth: Hawaii fell apart in this one
By Ferd Lewis
Things were looking so bleak for a New Mexico State men's basketball team at halftime last night that its coach, Marvin Menzies, acknowledged resorting to a little fib.
In the locker room, down 12 points (40-28), "I told them at halftime that we were going to win the game," Menzies said. "I don't know how much I believed it, but, hey, that's what I told them."
Indeed, who would have imagined the Rainbow Warriors could let this one get taken away from them?
But they did — and quickly — en route to a 71-69 loss to the Aggies before a numbed gathering of 3,068 at the Stan Sheriff Center.
While guard Jahmar Young won it with an 18-foot jump shot with 0.9 seconds left, it never should have come down to the final seconds. Or, a last-gasp shot.
It should have been clear-the-bench time by then for the 'Bows, who should long mourn this as the most painful of the ones that have gotten away. Especially since it puts them at 9-10 (2-4 in the Western Athletic Conference) and in seventh place.
With it likely disappeared their last chance at finishing above .500 in a season that has 11 regular-season games remaining, just five of them at home.
Last night, thanks to an inspired first-half start, the 'Bows were looking at the chance of a three-game homestand sweep, having already held off San Jose State with an over-rated Louisiana Tech team limping in today from an 87-76 loss at San Jose State for tomorrow's game.
The 'Bows, playing with a passion and purpose we haven't seen enough of this season, built their halftime edge on impressive first-half domination of the boards and paint, muscling up put-backs and slowing down the Aggies' accomplished guards. "They were beating us up pretty good," Young said.
But the 'Bows unraveled like a cheap pair of shoes to open the second half. Just 4 minutes and 15 seconds into which the 'Bows were already trailing due to turnovers and poor shooting
After that not even a thunderous one-handed alley-oop dunk by Roderick Flemings on his 23rd birthday could help UH hold off the Aggies.
Young, the WAC's leading scorer last year, has a large star tattooed in the middle of his chest but the fact of the matter was that last night he could thank the 'Bows for giving him the opportunity to shine.