Vulcans Find New Low in Seventh Straight Loss
Classes may be out of session for the fall semester, but the University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s basketball team has a lot of studying and homework to do following their worst loss of the season, a 98-64 defeat to Urbana University Friday night at Kea`au High School.
The Puna district’s high school campus hosted the game while the university’s gymnasium prepares for this weekend’s commencement exercises.
The end result of the game was night-and-day in comparison to the first five minutes of the contest. The Vulcans opened up the game with a 9-4 run in the first 4:09 of the game, thanks in part to pressure defense from Mychael Hearn on Urbana’s best scorer, Armond Battle. The Division I transfer started the game 1-for-4 from the field with a turnover while Vulcan newcomers Derek Owens and Brandon Thomas scored three points each in the run.
Once Urbana got their game going, however, they were unstoppable. Down 13-12 with 11:47 to play in the half, the Blue Knights would go on a 10-0 run that would span the next six minutes. In that stretch, the Vulcans turned the ball over 8 times and shot 0-for-3 from the field.
The Blue Knights took a 41-24 lead over UH Hilo to the halftime break. In the first 20 minutes, the Vulcans shot 33 percent from the field, went 0-for-6 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 19 times.
The second half was no better, resembling an open-court pick up game with little offensive strategy, defense, or attention to rebounding. UH Hilo was out-rebounded 29 to 9 in the second half, including 15-0 on the offensive glass. The Blue Knights took 18 more second half shots, making eight more in the frame than their opponents, and took 26 more shots in the game.
Overall, UH Hilo turned the ball over 31 times and lost the rebounding battle by a 47-28 tally. Coming into the game, the Vulcans averaged just over 17 turnovers per game. That was exceeded before the first stanza ended.
“I don’t know if it was finals or whatever but we got back to the turnovers…it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out,” said UH Hilo coach Jeff Law after the game. “Thirty-one turnovers is pathetic. We can’t do it. We can’t play like that. We already lost one game by six when we had 27 turnovers and, you know, some of the guys just don’t learn.”
Urbana’s Danny Goins led all scorers with 22 points. He shot 9-of-15 from the field and grabbed five rebounds. Overall, four Blue Knights were in double figured. Casey Baker scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Battle poured in 14 points and collected nine boards, and C.J. Reid scored 11 points off of the bench.
The loss was another reminder of a leadership problem that has followed this team all season long.
“It was just embarrassing and it was ugly. We need somebody in that locker room right now to step up and understand the value of the ball, the value of playing hard each and every time,” said a frustrated Law after the game. “I don’t know right now how to get it out of some of these guys.”
Hearn led UHH with 12 points and six rebounds, while CJ Brown and Kiel Meyers added 10 points each. Brown, however added to his team lead in turnovers with seven for the game. He averaged 3.4 giveaways per game going into the contest.
The turnaround between games will be much shorter than the 11 days that separated Friday’s loss from their last game, a road loss on December 3 at Grand Canyon University. This time, they will have just less than five days to regroup and get ready for St. Edward’s University. Law says that he will give his team Saturday off and will keep them off of the court on Sunday, too. That doesn’t mean they will be able to run away from Friday’s blowout.
“We’re gonna watch this, and it’s gonna be an ugly Sunday,” said Law of the team’s plans.
Wednesday’s game against St. Edward’s gets underway at 3:00 p.m. at the UH Hilo gymnasium. The broadcast can be found on ESPN Radio and ESPNHawaii.com
Urbana 41 57 – 98
UH Hilo 24 40 – 64