HONOLULU — The Hawai’i Warriors beat the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 72-60, inside the Stan Sheriff Center late Wednesday night.
The Warriors will take the win, even though it was one of their ugliest games of the season.
As a team, the Warriors shot a ghastly 38.6% from the field, as well as 29.2% from beyond the arc.
Hawai’i got exactly half of their points from the charity stripe (31), as the Panthers did the polar opposite, and only making 10-of-23 of their own attempts from the line.
Prairie View A&M did an astounding job on the defensive end against the Warriors on Wednesday, as they caused 19 turnovers which resulted in 20 points for the Panthers.
As 11 of those turnovers were caused in the first half, it was evident that Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot was not happy.
“We need to take care of the ball, too many turnovers,” said Ganot.
The home team went on a scoring drought that lasted over six minutes to end the first half, yet still managed to have a 36-29 lead at the first-half buzzer.
Hawai’i legend and current St. Louis Cardinals’ second basemen Kolton Wong had his #14 jersey retired at halftime.
Prairie View A&M closed it to a six-point ball game with 11:53 to play in the second half, and kept it close all the way down to the 3:56 mark where it was a 65-61 game in favor of the Warriors.
It was an absolutely awful night on the offensive end for the Warriors, as they were held without a field goal for over 11 minutes (!) in the second half.
Hawai’i was still able to close out the game, 72-60, without any field goals over that 11-minute stretch.
“I thought we executed well down the stretch…they were hard to shake, they stuck in there,” head coach Eran Ganot said. “I thought we did a great job early, and then like I said they are one of those teams where if you have a double digit lead they keep coming. And so when they turn people over, they do it in flurries and that’s what happened with us.”
For the Panthers, junior guard Gary Blackston led all scorers with 27 points and a staggering five steals.
Prairie View A&M had a total of twelve steals, while Hawai’i could not generate a single one.
Drew Buggs led Hawai’i with 17 points, while senior captain Mike Thomas pitched in 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Hawai’i (5-2) maintained a perfect home record, but they have a quick turnaround, as they host the Hawai’i Hilo Vulcans on Saturday night. The Warriors topped the Vulcans last season, 86-55.
Prairie View A&M (2-6) has now lost three straight games since winning the Middleweight Bracket of the MGM Grand Main Event. They have a daunting task ahead of them on Saturday, as they take on the seventh-ranked Texas A&M Aggies.
– T. Zust