Hawaii suffers narrow overtime loss to #11 Wichita State, 80-79

December 24, 2014

The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with the nation’s 11th-ranked team, but fell short in an 80-79 overtime heartbreaker to Wichita State on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic at the boisterous Stan Sheriff Center.

With the loss, the ‘Bows will play Colorado on Thursday in the third-place game at 1:30 p.m.

Hawaii was attempting to pull off its second upset in as many days, and when Aaron Valdes' bucket gave UH the lead with under a minute to play, it appeared that they might be successful.  However, Wichita State rallied to force overtime, only to then deal with another surge from Hawaii and their home crowd.

In overtime the ‘Bows again looked prime for the upset when Stefan Jankovic (12 pts, 5 reb) nailed a three pointer and Mike Thomas (9 pts) popped a jumper to give their team a 77-74 lead with 2:17 to play in overtime. The ‘Bows led by two with less than a minute remaining before an errant UH turnover led to a three pointer from Fred Vanvleet (13 pts) that helped the Shockers escape with the win.

The deciding basket was scored by the Wichita State's Rashard Kelly who rebounded a Vanvleet miss and converted the short put-back for the win.

Ron Baker had 17 points for the Shockers (10-1) who move on to Thursday’s championship game against George Washington.

Valdes and Isaac Fleming would lead Hawaii with 17 points. Negus Webster-Chan had a near double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

It was a sloppy start for both teams, but Fleming started hot, hitting on his first four shots including a step-back three-pointer to help keep the ‘Bows in the game.  Jankovic got it going just prior to the break, scoring on an impressive post move then hitting a jumper to hold Wichita State to just a one-point halftime lead.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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