UC Riverside loses Heartbreaker to Hawaii in Big West tournament quarterfinals – Press Enterprise

There were so many breathless moments in UC Riverside’s Big West Tournament quarterfinal game against Hawaii on Thursday night that the players had a hard time remembering the order.

Third-placed Hawaii will recall reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2016, 68-67. The sixth-placed Highlanders will remember how they were minutes away from victory before it slipped away at the Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nevada.

Hawaii coach Evan Ganot put the game into perspective for all Big West teams this week with a forward twist of the “Someone’s gotta lose” chorus.

“UC Riverside is great. All games have been close so far,” he said. “Someone has to advance.”

“It seemed like the whole game for the lead was up and down,” said UCR coach Mike Magpayo. “We really enjoy these kinds of games, it’s just painful when they don’t go your way.

“It’s basketball. So life is.”

UCR (16-12) had their third straight season and will be repeating how the season ended for a while. In their last three games, the Highlanders lost a double-overtime game to UC Santa Barbara and the regular-season finals to conference champion Long Beach State by a point in overtime. And now this.

UC Riverside led 63-62 with 4:12 on Thursday night. In the next minute, Callum McRae and Flynn made Cameron layups flirt with the basket before falling away. Hawaii’s Junior Madut hit a layup to take the lead and teammate Bernardo da Silva blocked a shot on ensuing possession.

Jerome Desrosiers grabbed an offensive rebound from a miss and scored to put the Rainbow Warriors 66-63 ahead. Wil Tattersall made a basket to put UCR within 1:54 but the next minute the Highlanders had two good looks that didn’t go down.

They fouled with 16 seconds left and Madut hit both shots to make it a three-pointer again. Hawaii (17-10) fouled Dominick Pickett by 6.1 seconds. He took both shots to bring the lead back to one.

Madut was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Highlanders got the ball to Tattersall but his shot from the top of the key went wide.

Zyon Pullin had 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting and five assists to accelerate UCR, while Cameron added 17 (5 to 9 from 3-point range) and Pickett 13 (3 to 4 from behind the arc) . UCR finished 9 for 19 from 3-point range.

Madut finished with 17 points and eight rebounds for Hawaii, and Desrosiers had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Amoro Lado added 12 points and da Silva had nine rebounds and four blocked shots.


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