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Nevada uses height to impact game, frustrate UH

Dec. 18—The Hawaii basketball team could not overcome foul trouble, missed shots from the free-throw line and beyond the arc, and two late turnovers in Sunday's 72-66 loss to Nevada in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

The Hawaii basketball team could not overcome foul trouble, missed shots from the free-throw line and beyond the arc, and two late turnovers in Sunday's 72-66 loss to Nevada in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 3, 362—the largest for a UH home game this season—saw the Rainbow Warriors move into position to tie or take the lead against an opponent that competed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

Down 68-66, UH forward Justin McKoy's drive was stolen by Daniel Foster with 10 seconds to play. Three-tenths of a second later, McKoy fouled Hunter McIntosh, who sank both free throws for a 70-66 lead.

With 4.2 seconds to play, UH point guard JoVon McClanahan was called for a double dribble.

"It was a miscue with the double dribble, " UH coach Eran Ganot said. "You don't expect that to happen, but it happened."

Kenan Blackshear, the Wolf Pack's 6-foot-6, 230-pound point guard, was fouled with 2.3 seconds remaining and his two free throws completed the scoring.

"We fell short, " said Ganot, whose'Bows dropped to 7-2 ahead of Thursday's opener of the eight-team Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. "I'm very disappointed in that. We're very disappointed in that. We're not going to sit there and pout. We're going to take a day to recharge, have good practices, and keep improving."

The'Bows' game plan was to contain Nevada's starting backcourt of Blackshear (16.2 points per game ) and Jarod Lucas (16.1 ). In turn, the Pack's strategy was to pressure the points—McClanahan and Juan Munoz, who was 8-for-8 on 3s in the first halves of the previous two games. The Wolf Pack rotated defenders on the UH playmakers. In one series, 6-9 post Nick Davidson guarded 5-11 Munoz.

McClanahan missed his four shots and finished with four points. Munoz's 3 with 11 :53 to play was the'Bows' third—and final—made shot from behind the arc. The'Bows finished 3-for-17 on 3-point attempts.

"I thought we did a really good job on both point guards, " Nevada coach Steve Alford said. "We held both those point guards to one field goal. I thought that was a huge key for us."

With his usual accurate outside shot off the mark, UH guard Noel Coleman found points on drives and free throws. He also held Blackshear to 3-for-9 shooting in the first half. But Coleman missed his four 3-point attempts ; McKoy and Harry Rouhliadeff each misfired on three 3s.

UH center Bernardo da Silva scored a game-high 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. But before the first media timeout of the second half, da Silva was assessed his third foul and 7-1 Mor Seck picked up his third and fourth fouls. That forced Rhouliadeff, a 6-9 stretch four, to play center for a stretch.

"It was huge, " Alford said of the'Bows' posts incurring foul trouble.

Alford said his team was able to rotate posts Davidson, 6-10 K.J. Hymes, 7-1 Jeriah Coleman and 7-foot Jazz Gardner. "And we can post our guards, " Alford said. "When we post our guards, the ('Bows') bigs come to help. And we were able to get bigs in foul trouble that way. I thought that was big. It made them adjust their normal sub pattern, and play some guys maybe more minutes than they wanted up front. I think that really helped us."

Da Silva exited with his fifth foul with UH trailing 64-63 with 1 :50 to play. Hymes increased the Pack's lead to 66-63 with his two ensuing free throws. "I appreciate K.J., " Alford said of Hymes, who sprained an ankle last week. "I thought he did a good job of fighting through some stuff."

Nevada converted its final five free throws, hitting 12 of 14 after the intermission. The'Bows made 13 of 22 second-half free throws.

"We made free throws down the stretch, " said Alford, also noting the Pack scored 11 of the final 17 points. "And that was the difference in the game."