Free Throws, Turnovers Doom UHH in Fourth Straight Loss
It was the kind of loss that no one wants to have going into a long break. Lots of missed free throws and a season high in turnovers contributed to a frustrating 67-61 loss by the University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s basketball team Wednesday night.
What makes it worse is that despite shooting 21-of-37 from the free throw line and turning the ball over 27 times to Montana State University – Billings, the Vulcans still had opportunities to win for the first time at home.
UH Hilo (1-4) silenced the Yellowjackets’ offense in the first half, employing a frustrating 2-3 zone defense that held their opponents to 11-of-32 shooting from the field and 0-for-12 from beyond the arc. The Vulcans also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding Billings by a 23-11 mark.
Despite those positive statistics, UH Hilo shot themselves in the foot early and often in the non-conference matchup, turning the ball over 19 times in the first 20 minutes while making only 7-of-18 shots from the field.
The Vulcans scored the first four points in the second half before Montana State University – Billings finally found their outside rhythm. David Arnold hit a three pointer a minute and a half into the final period to give the visitors a 28-26 lead. He would hit another one 51 seconds later to push the lead to four at 32-28.
Billings (4-1) would extend their lead to 17 points with 5:19 remaining before the Vulcans raced back into the game. Robert Looper hit a pair of jumpers off of the bench to cut the lead to 13 at 61-48 with 4:03 remaining. Derek Owens followed with a three and Mychael Hearn hit a shot in the paint to get them within eight points with 2:08 remaining.
CJ Brown cut the deficit to six with a steal and a fast break basket with 1:53 remaining. After a questionable foul on MSUB’s Kalob Hatcher, Brown was back at the free throw line shooting two shots. He made only one of two of those shots to bring the lead down to five with 1:49 left.
Moments later in a six point game, Michael Melonas was at the free throw line to try to swipe at the Yellowjackets’ lead. He only hit one of two free throws, but the Vulcans still had life. Following a turnover, Hearn followed a tough missed layup with a put back basket to get UH Hilo within three points.
Arnold brought the lead back up to four with a made free throw with :18 remaining, but after a missed three by Hearn, the Yellowjackets launched a pass the length of the floor to find an open Omar McDade for a layup to end the game.
In the second half alone, the Vulcans shot 14-30 from the foul line. They were also outrebounded 24-16 in the final 20 minutes.
Cameron Cusworth came off of the bench to lead the Yellowjackets with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He was also tied for the team lead with five rebounds. Boise State transfer Jarrell Crayton put up 14 points and five rebounds while dealing with foul trouble, and Arnold added 12 points.
Brown led the Vulcans with 15 points and five turnovers. He shot 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Michael Melonas added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He, like many other members of his team, struggled at the free throw line. He shot 4-of-7 from the charity stripe.
The Yellowjackets finished the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Thanksgiving Classic with a 3-0 record, while the Vulcans went 0-3.
Montana State University – Billings 25 42 – 67
Hawai`i Hilo 22 39 – 61
Maryville 70, Western New Mexico 58
The Maryville Saints finished the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort Thanksgiving Classic with a 2-1 record by defeating Western New Mexico by 12 in the tournament’s largest winning margin. The Saints were helped by 11 made three pointers and 15 assists. They were led by Gerald Shaw’s 16 points and five rebounds. Armon Provo added 13 points and six boards, while Asa Toney contributed 11 points and eight assists.
Chad Carter, who made the game winning basket in Tuesday’s win over UH Hilo, led the Mustands with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting. Lucio Luttrell and Daryl Littleton added 10 points. Head coach Mark Coleman was given a technical foul early in the second half for arguing a call.
Maryville (MO) 39 31 – 10
Western New Mexico 31 27 – 58