We can’t call it perfect, but it was a very good week across the board for the University of Hawaii.
The football team snapped a long road losing streak to shut out San Jose State. The men’s basketball team started its season winning two out of three games, coming up one win short of the Rainbow Classic title. The wahine hoops team headed to the Mainland and got a pair of victories to start 2-0.
You have to go all the way back to Oct. 29, 2011, to find the last Rainbow Warrior football victory away from Aloha Stadium. That win came against Idaho and Greg McMackin was still wearing the UH headset at the time. Coach Norm Chow now has his first road win and UH has its first after 17 straight losses.
It came in surprising fashion as the ‘Bows, who had not pitched a shutout since 2005, blanked San Jose State despite the Spartans outgaining Hawaii, 462 to 240. They were consistently threatening, but the UH defense continued to make timely stops thanks to a trio of trifectas – three turnovers, three fourth-down stops and three missed field goals.
With that much good fortune, the offense didn’t have to pile on the points and Ikaika Woolsey and Joey Iosefa did all they needed for the 13-0 win. Woolsey was 9 of 16 for 150 yards and one interception. Iosefa carried 26 times for 68 yards and scored the game’s lone touchdown on a one-yard plunge just before halftime.
They were modest numbers but the only important figures were on the scoreboard. Hawaii improved to 3-8 on the season, 2-4 in the Mountain West Conference. The ‘Bows celebrate Senior Night this weekend with their final home game of the year, Saturday against UNLV (2-9, 1-5 MWC). The three wins equal the most under Chow and UH has two more opportunities to increase that number.
Men’s hoops overcomes instability
The turmoil and turnover that came just before the start of its 2014-15 campaign didn’t prevent Hawaii from winning its first two men’s basketball matchups, though it came up shy of a third on Monday night. The ‘Bows are working on figuring out a rotation and an identity, so a few different players stepped up to provide some stability.
UH mounted a huge second half in its opener, pulling away from Arkansas Pine-Bluff for an 85-57 win. Leading by just one at halftime, Hawaii used its rebounding prowess to outwork and outshine the Golden Lions down the stretch. Aaron Valdes led the way with 28 points on 11 of 15 shooting to go with nine rebounds and three steals. Negus Webster-Chan had a strong UH debut with 16 points and eight boards, while Garrett Nevels and Roderick Bobbitt scored 11 apiece.
The second game was closer, but a similar script. The ‘Bows were a bit flat from the start and trailed by six at halftime before recovering their form for a 72-65 win over Cal State Bakersfield. They showed aggression and got to the foul line 36 times, which helped turn the tide. Bobbitt was the top scorer with 16 points, followed by Webster-Chan (12) and Nevels (11). Valdes was held to just six points on 1-for-2 shooting.
A midnight tip in Monday night’s final game didn’t suit UH. This time it was High Point that turned things around in the second half to nab a 62-54 win. Mike Thomas scored 14 to lead Hawaii, though no other starters were in double-figures. Isaac Fleming came off the bench to score 11.
Hawaii has an exhibition contest at home today against UH-Hilo before taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers Friday night on Maui.
Wahine perfect after pair of tight road wins
They needed overtime in their season opener and managed to barely hold on in their follow-up effort, but the Rainbow Wahine are off to a 2-0 start with a pair of wins on the Mainland.
Hawaii headed to Colorado State for its opener and needed five extra minutes to pick up a 63-58 win. Destiny King’s double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) led the way, while Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Ashleigh Karaitiana added 12 points apiece. Morgan Mason scored eight, including a big 3-pointer with just over a minute left in overtime to give UH a four-point lead.
Mason stepped up again with a big performance in the follow-up effort, scoring 23 points with seven rebounds and four assists in a 60-58 win over Denver on Sunday night. Karaitiana added 11.
Mason was named Big West Player of the Week for her efforts, helping the Wahine to a pair of season-opening road wins for the first time in program history.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.