Hawai’i MBB Unable to Overcome Turnovers, Fouls in Road Loss to Unbeaten UNLV

By: Paul Brecht

NEVADA – The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team dropped their first game on the mainland this season to the UNLV Rebels, 77-62, to fall to 5-3 on the season.

The ‘Bows found themselves with a slow offensive start in the team’s first action on the mainland this season and in front of a relatively rowdy home UNLV crowd.

The Runnin’ Rebels, who had won eight straight to open their season, started quickly and jumped out to an early 12-point lead by the first half’s 12-minute media timeout.

While UH would continue to chip away at the UNLV lead, getting as close as down just five with 7:13 remaining in the first half but couldn’t get closer.

The Rebels ended the half on a 20-8 run, capped by a Jordan McCabe buzzer-beater, to open up a 41-22 lead heading into the locker rooms.

Turnovers plagued the ‘Bows in the first half, as the visitors committed nine first-half turnovers leading to 12 points for the opposition. The UNLV bench also outscored Hawai’i reserves, 17-4, in first half action.

Both teams came out of the break trading punches, as Hawai’i cut the UNLV lead down to 16 by the first media timeout of the second half. Through a tight whistle, UH continued to pull closer to UNLV while the Rebels entered the 1&1 bonus with just over 12 minutes to play. 

The ‘Bows, though offensively not showing the best output, continued to bunker down on the defensive end against the Rebels. Coupled with the help of the three-point touch of 6’9” first-year forward Harry Rouhiladeff, Hawai’i brought the deficit to 54-46 with 9:02 to play.

Unfortunately, fouls and turnovers would come back to bite the ‘Bows. UNLV entered the double bonus with 8:16 left in the 2nd half and UH would commit nine more turnovers in the second stanza, totaling 18 throwaways on the evening for the road warriors.

The Rebels would push the lead back up to 20 points, 77-57, thanks to the hot shooting of Luis Rodriguez and the entire UNLV unit.

Hawai’i would give one last effort, closing the gap to 15 points to finish the night thanks to five quick Kamaka Hepa points in the final minute before falling, 77-62.

UNLV was led by Rodriguez’ 18 points, followed by Keshon Gilbert and Justin Webster each contributing 13 points as the Rebels stayed unbeaten.

The big man, Hepa, paced the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Forward Beon Riley came off the bench and chipped in 12 points and a team-leading 8 rebounds for the ‘Bows.

After a strong showing from the UH bigs, the talented Hawai’i guard group will look to get back on track in the Rainbow Warriors’ next game on Sunday, December 11 when they return home to host Saint Francis.