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Munoz's sizzling shooting helps Hawaii bury Central Arkansas

Dec. 4—Juan Munoz opened the way for the Hawaii basketball team to break away in Sunday's 95-76 victory over Central Arkansas in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Juan Munoz opened the way for the Hawaii basketball team to break away in Sunday's 95-76 victory over Central Arkansas in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 3, 119 saw the Rainbow Warriors improve to 6-1. In their sixth road game, the Bears fell to 1-9.

Summoned as part of a four-player substitution with UH trailing 22-15 with 12 :59 left in the first half, Munoz hit all five of his 3-point shots to spark the'Bows.

Munoz parlayed Matt Cotton's pass to the left corner into a 3 that broke a 28-all tie with 6 :40 left in the first half. Later, Munoz assisted on Bernardo da Silva's dunk, and then hit back-to-back 3s to make it 39-34.

"Coach (Eran Ganot ) is always saying : 'stay ready so you don't have to get ready, '" Munoz said. "That's something I want to apply to the game. The guys got me going. I appreciate them."

Munoz scored 17 first-half points and, despite pleas from guard Noel Coleman to shoot more, finished with 19 points and three assists. Munoz, who is about 5-10 and 175 pounds, also drew four fouls, including absorbing 6-3, 200-pound Carl Daughtery's no-brake drive.

During a sequence, Munoz had a pass intercepted. But Munoz raced downcourt, stole the ball back, and then fired a long pass to Tom Beattie ... with his left (non-dominant ) arm.

"It's good to be out there just playing, trusting my legs, trusting everything is healthy, " Munoz said.

Munoz is an eighth-year senior who suffered two ACL injuries at Longwood before transferring to UH in August 2021. He missed his first UH season after suffering another ACL injury, and was lost for the 2022-23 season after hurting his Achilles in a preseason exhibition.

"He's gaining confidence right now, " associate head coach John Montgomery said. "This is the player we recruited and believed in. We think he can be that guy moving forward."

The'Bows made 14 of 27 3-point shots, including nine in the first half. Coleman, who scored 18 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, sank four 3s.

The most spectacular 3 was a buzzer beater at the end of the first half. While leaning out of bounds, JoVon McClanahan banked in a trey for a 54-43 lead.

"Any time the clock is under 5 seconds, we've got to find JoVon McClanahan, " Munoz said. "That's our plan."

Of McClanahan's shot, UCA coach Anthony Boone said : "He was actually on the line. It was a crazy play. We made a really good defensive play, and they almost threw it away. And (McClanahan ) threw it in like that. ... The stars were aligned for him. It was just great momentum for them."

The Bears were without their best player, point guard Camren Hunter, who suffered a season-ending foot injury days ahead of the opener. But Johannes Kirsipuu, who replaced Hunter in the lineup, orchestrated a Bears' attack that relied on back cuts, pushing ahead in transition, and drive-and-kickouts. Kirsipuu, who entered 3-for-24 on 3s, hit all three of shots from behind the arc in a 13-point first half.

Montgomery said the'Bows were implored to play better defense on 6-9 forward Tucker Anderson and Kirsipuu.

"Anderson was hot, " Montgomery said of Anderson, who finished with 23 points. "I don't think he got many clean looks in the second half. We challenged No. 4 (Kirsipuu ). He made three 3s in the first half and didn't get any in the second half. It wasn't our best first half. But our guys responded and had a good second half defensively."

After the intermission, the Bears were held to 33.3 % shooting, including 2-for-11 on 3s.

HAWAII 95, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 76 BEARS (1-9 )

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS Etim 32 5-6 2-4 5 1 4 12 Anderson 34 8-15 3-4 5 2 2 23 Kirsipuu 24 5-10 0-0 1 3 4 13 Olowokere 31 4-7 6-6 6 2 0 15 Sofield 13 0-3 0-0 1 1 1 0 Daughtery Jr. 27 1-9 2-2 2 0 3 4 Guy-King 12 1-5 0-0 1 2 2 2 Klintman 16 3-3 0-0 2 0 1 7 Carr 8 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 Simmons 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Bowman 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Muse 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 TEAM 4 TOTALS 200 27-59 13-16 28 11 18 76 RAINBOW WARRIORS (6-1 )

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS McKoy 26 5-12 0-0 1 4 1 11 Da Silva 29 6-9 3-3 11 0 3 15 McClanahan 22 2-4 0-1 0 2 3 6 Coleman 31 7-10 7-8 0 3 3 25 Cotton 23 3-8 0-0 4 4 2 6 Beattie 21 2-4 1-2 2 1 1 5 Rouhliadeff 12 1-1 0-0 3 0 1 3 Seck 11 0-0 2-2 3 0 1 2 Munoz 19 6-8 2-2 3 3 1 19 Svetozarevic 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0 Rapp 2 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0 Jacobs 2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 3 TEAM 2 TOTALS 200 33-58 15-18 29 18 17 95 Halftime—Hawaii 54, Cent. Arkansas 43 3-point goals—UCA 9-23 (Anderson 4-7, Kirsipuu 3-5, Klintman 1-1, Olowokere 1-3, Guy-King 0-1, Sofield 0-2, Daughtery Jr. 0-4 ). Hawaii 14-27 (Munoz 5-5, Coleman 4-7, McClanahan 2-3, Rouhliadeff 1-1, Jacobs 1-2, McKoy 1-5, Beattie 0-1, Cotton 0-3 ). Steals—UCA 7 (Olowokere 4, Daughtery Jr., Guy-King, Carr ). Hawaii 3 (McKoy, Coleman, Munoz ). Blocked shots—UCA 1 (Etim ). Hawaii 4 (Da Silva 3, Seck ). Turnovers—UCA 9 (Kirsipuu 2, Daughtery Jr. 2, Anderson, Olowokere, Sofield, Guy-King, Carr ). Hawaii 8 (Rouhliadeff 3, McClanahan, Coleman, Cotton, Seck, Munoz ). Technical fouls—none. Officials—Kevin Brill, RickBastell, Travis Schatzman. A—3, 119.