NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team came within a hair of picking up a dramatic comeback win at Cal State Northridge but ultimately was turned back, 79-78, Saturday night at The Matadome. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 11-5 overall and 0-2 in the Big West with its second straight road setback.
Digging itself out of a 13-point hole late in the second half, UH had three opportunities to take the lead in the final minute but couldn’t capitalize. The last play included a Christian Standhardinger jumper near the free throw line that rattled out at the buzzer.
Standhardinger finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year. Isaac Fotu also posted a double-double with 16 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Garrett Nevels, who helped spur UH’s late comeback, scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half before fouling out with 2:11 left., while Brandon Spearman added 15 points.
Stephen Maxwell had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Aaron Parks scored a career-high 19 points for the Matadors (10-7) who improved to 2-0 in conference and 7-1 at home this year. CSUN hit some timely three-pointers and went an astounding 28-of-31 (.903) from the line to help secure the win.
Two days after a lackluster effort at Cal Poly, UH gave a much stronger effort against the Matadors. The ‘Bows were off and running early and led for the majority of the first half, building its advantage to as many as nine points. CSUN however made a run to end the half and after a trio of free throws with less than a second, took a 40-39 lead into the locker room. The teams combined to hit all 26 free throws in the first half with CSUN going 18-of-18 from the line.
The second half continued to be tight until the Matadors went on a decisive 13-2 run that gave them a 70-57 lead with less than eight minutes remaining. UH, however, wouldn’t fold and continued to chip away. After going scoreless for the entire game, Keith Shamburger nailed a big three-pointer to pull UH within one point with less than two minutes remaining.
UH then stopped CSUN on the ensuing possession to set the stage for the final sequence of plays. The ‘Bows had their first opportunity to tie or take the lead when Brandon Spearman was fouled with 53 seconds left. Spearman missed the front-end of the one-and-one but UH got the rebound to retain possession. Shamburger missed a driving layup with 25 seconds left but UH again got the offensive rebound. Following a timeout UH had one last chance but Standhardinger’s jumper fell just off the mark.
UH now returns to Honolulu for it Big West home opener versus UC Riverside. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*