Nothing went right, but 'Bows survive
IT got ugly early, last night.
There were elbows, an air ball. Strange calls.
Passes to the back of the head.
It was so bad, even the heckling was off.
"Hey J.J.!" one fan yelled at a UNLV player. "What's Happening!!"
That's the wrong show!
(Everyone knows the proper heckle would have been "Dy-no-mite!")
"This game is free, ah?" someone said, meaning there should have been massive refunds had it been pay-per-view.
"There have been some epic misses in this game," someone else said.
That was an apt description of some of those shots.
There were sudden reversals of fortune, steals in breakneck succession, awkward ridiculous whistles, ricochets.
Hard fouls. Bad fouls.
UNLV finished with 21 turnovers. Hawaii, 20. It was that kind of night.
During one of the timeout entertainment numbers (they were trying to do the Beyonce okole dance), one of the Rainbow Dancers lost both her shoes.
That's how off everybody was.
And yet the Rainbows emerged from the madness with a win. With rebounds and 3s, with big dunks and blocked shots. The 'Bows stood in there, slugged it out, went brick for brick, toe to toe. They played ugly, won ugly.
They shot 55 percent in the second half. Better than 50 for the game. They were tougher.
"They kind of bullied us the last time we were up there," Julian Sensley would say of the Nov. 22 game, in which he was held without a point.
In Vegas, only ugliness. In the rematch, they emerge from the scrum with a win.
"When he came home from Las Vegas," Riley Wallace said of Sensley, "he assured me that's not going to happen again."
There was Ahmet Gueye, with a block that went over the bench and into the third row. Matthew Gipson, a nice cut, no dribble, to the hoop. Bobby Nash, finding Matt Lojeski with an inbounds out of the mosh pit, a 3. Julian Sensley, a career high, 28 points, dunking over UNLV's Louis Amundson. Lojeski, baseline dunk.
Sensley, a 3. Then another. A standing O.
"Once we get our offense started," Hawaii point guard Deonte Tatum said, "we're pretty hard to stop."
When the horn sounded, Wallace hugged himself and shook his head. Sometimes, there are nights like these. They'll kill you.
"We needed to win a game like that," Wallace said, "where we had to grind it out."
They'll kill you, unless you win.