Warriors fall short at UC San Diego, 67-61

Hawai’i point guard JoVon McClanahan scored 11 points, dished out five assists and grabbed two rebounds in Saturday night’s loss at UC San Diego. (Brandon Flores Photography file photo)

A forgettable two-game road trip for the Hawai’i men’s basketball team ended with a 67-61 loss at UC San Diego on Saturday afternoon.

A crowd of 1,558 at LionTree Arena in La Jolla, Calif., watched the Tritons defeat the Rainbow Warriors for the first time. UCSD, which improved to 12-7 overall and 6-1 in the Big West Conference, was previously 0-6 against UH.

The Warriors dropped to 10-9 and 2-5 with their third consecutive road loss. The Tritons are now tied for second place in the league standings, while Hawai’i is tied for eighth with Cal State Fullerton, which defeated the Warriors and would own a tiebreaker.

Graduate guard Juan Munoz made the first start of his UH career and finished with a season-high 21 points, including 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Point guard JoVon McClanahan, who came off the bench for the first time this season, contributed 11 points and five assists. Noel Coleman added 11 points and four rebounds, and Justin McKoy grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and scored seven points.

UH out-rebounded the Tritons, 33-27, and shot for a better percentage (48 percent to 45 percent), but the Warriors were done in by a season-high 20 turnovers. As a result, UC San Diego out-scored Hawai’i 26-7 in the “points off turnovers” category. Fourteen of those turnovers came in the decisive first half.

The Warriors opened the game by taking eight consecutive 3-pointers. They made five of those and held a 15-11 lead with 11:26 remaining in the first half. They increased the lead to 24-16 on a 3-pointer by Coleman with 6:40 left, but the Tritons responded with a stunning 17-0 run over the next six minutes to turn the game around. Hawai’i committed five turnovers and shot 0 for 6 during that stretch.

The run gave UCSD a 33-24 lead, and the Tritons eventually held a 35-26 advantage at intermission.

The Warriors opened the second half with a 14-3 surge to take a 40-38 lead, but it would be short-lived, as UC San Diego answered with an 8-0 run to go ahead for good at 46-40 with 11:57 remaining.

UH cut a 10-point deficit down to four in the closing minutes, but the Tritons went 4 for 6 on free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the victory.

Bryce Pope led UCSD with 21 points, and Tyler McGhie added 14. Aniwaniwa Tait-Jones, a transfer from Hawai’i-Hilo, contributed 13 points, six rebounds and three steals for the Tritons.

UH joined the Big West in 2012, and its current 2-5 league record after four weeks is its worst start to begin the conference regular season.

The Warriors will return to Honolulu on Sunday and play host to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.


  1. UC Davis (7-1)
  2. UC Irvine (6-1)
  3. UC San Diego (6-1)
  4. Cal State Northridge (4-3)
  5. Long Beach State (4-3)
  6. UC Santa Barbara (4-4)
  7. UC Riverside (3-5)
  8. Cal State Fullerton (2-5)
  9. HAWAI’I (2-5)
  10. Cal State Bakersfield (2-5)
  11. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (0-7)

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