Carter’s Game Winning Jumper Drops UH Hilo
Chad Carter sank an 18-foot baseline jump shot with :0.8 remaining in the game to give Western New Mexico their first win of the season, a 61-60 victory over the University of Hawai`i at Hilo on the second day of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Thanksgiving Classic.
UH Hilo’s Brandon Thomas gave the Vulcans a 60-59 lead with :7.7 after he followed Derek Owens’ missed free throw with an offensive rebound and a bucket. The Mustangs raced across halfcourt and called a timeout with :4.4 remaining. After UH Hilo fouled Carter with under three seconds remaining to keep him from getting a shot, Carter took the inbound pass on the right baseline and drained the floating jump shot.
Paul Batausa fired a three-quarter court jump shot as time expired and missed short, sealing the victory for Western New Mexico.
On the “Sports Line Postgame Show” on ESPN Radio, UH Hilo coach Jeff Law expressed his disappointment to listeners on his team’s performance.
“Hilo, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know why these guys won’t come out and play hard and play straight. It was ugly in the beginning and then we kinda righted the ship and we came back, but we don’t make free throws. It’s nothing to do with them (Western New Mexico) at all. It’s our turnovers and our missed free throws.”
Despite shooting 7-for-10 in the first half from the charity stripe, the Vulcans struggled in the second half, shooting 9-19 in the second half, a .474 clip. Owens had a chance to give UHH the lead with ten seconds remaining, but missed both free throws. Nine minutes earlier, Paul Batausa missed two of three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point shot. And, Michael Melonas went 3-of-6 from the foul line in the second half.
The start of the game was ugly for both teams, especially for the Vulcans. Law’s squad turned the ball over in each of their first three posessions. The Mustangs turned the ball over twice themselves in their first three posessions, but scored on their other one when Carter nailed a jumper 1:32 into the game.
With the game tied at four early in the half, the Mustangs would go on an 8-0 run over a 4:03 span, led in part by more UHH turnovers. The Vulcans gave the ball away five times in that span, and Western New Mexico opened their lead up to 12-4 almost seven minutes into the half.
UH Hilo would find a groove late in the half. Brandon Thomas dropped in a shot in the paint and followed on the next posession with a pair of free throws to break a 29-29 tie with under three minutes remaining in the half. The Vulcans took a 33-31 advantage to the locker room.
Despite another sluggish start to the second half, the Vulcans were still able to push their lead out to five with 15:44 remaining in the second half. The Mustangs reclaimed the lead with 12:04 remaining when Lucio Luttrell hit a jumper to make the score 48-47.
Michael Melonas gave UHH the lead back after a power move to the basket made the score 58-57 with 3:01 left. Carter, who returned to the game with four fouls, followed with a free throw line jump shot off of a screen to give Western New Mexico a 59-58 advantage with 2:03 remaining, setting up the finish.
Both teams combined to turn the ball over 41 times, competing not only against the other team, but against a slippery floor. Moisture from bad weather outside the gym brought slippery conditions that affected ball handlers and defenders.
Luttrell led all scorers with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting for Western New Mexico, who improved to 1-2 on the season. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Carter scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Merle Branch added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Paul Batausa led the Vulcans with 10 points, despite not making a field goal from inside the arc for a second straight game. Batausa hit three treys in a row in the first half and added a free throw in the second. Melonas, Lucas Swanson, and Robert Looper added nine points. Looper made his regular season debut off the bench.
Both teams finish play at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Thanksgiving Classic today at the UH Hilo Gymnasium. Western New Mexico will face Maryville at 5:00 p.m., followed by UH Hilo facing Montana State University – Billings, who hasn’t lost in the tournament, at 7:30 p.m. The latter can be heard on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com
Western New Mexico 31 30 – 61
Hawai`i Hilo 33 27 – 60
MSU-Billings 54, Maryville 50
Jarrell Crayton scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half as Yellowjackets struggled to a four point victory over previously unbeaten Maryville. Crayton, who is the likely favorite to take home the classic’s Most Valuable Player award, also grabbed nine rebounds in the team’s victory. David Arnold added 14 points and three assists.
Asa Toney scored 13 points and dished out seven assists in the loss for the Saints, who fall to 3-1. Gerald Shaw contributed 11 points.
Maryville 23 27 – 50
Montana State University – Billings 20 34 – 54