POSTED: Sunday, March 01, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. » Hawaii's road to avoid the play-in game at the Western Athletic Conference tournament just got a little bit tougher.
























        NEXT UP

        vs. New Mexico State on Saturday




Adrian Oliver made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to snap a 59-all tie and give San Jose State a 61-59 win over Hawaii last night at the Event Center.

It's this simple for the Rainbow Warriors: They need to knock off New Mexico State at home and then hope that Idaho can beat Louisiana Tech on Thursday. If both things happen, Hawaii would be the No. 7 seed and Tech would face Fresno State in the play-in game on March 10.

Hawaii coach Bob Nash knows the importance of avoiding that extra game come tournament time. Four games in five days is a nightmare for anybody, especially a team as thin as the Rainbow Warriors.

“;It's a tough road to go,”; Nash said. “;To win four games in Reno would be very difficult. We have New Mexico State coming to our place and we have to be ready.

“;We had some good looks in the second half. We had some free throws and layups that didn't go down. If they don't go down in the last 2 minutes that's the ballgame. Give credit to San Jose. They made plays down the stretch.”;

Hawaii led 59-54 with 3:34 left after a 3-pointer by Hiram Thompson, who scored 14 points. That would be Hawaii's last hurrah, as San Jose State scored the final seven points for the win.

It was an ugly 3-plus minutes for the Warriors, who went 0-for-4 from the floor, 0-for-2 from the line and turned the ball over twice, including the last one that led to Oliver's game-winning free throws.

After Thompson's bucket, San Jose State's C.J. Webster (12 points) scored to make it 59-56 with 3:06 left. Webster was fouled on the play, but failed to convert the three-point play. San Jose got the offensive rebound on Webster's miss, but Tim Pierce misfired.

Justin Graham stole the ball from Thompson on the ensuing possession, and converted that into a free throw at the other end to make it 59-57 with 2:35 left. Roderick Flemings (20 points) missed a jump shot fading away, but Bill Amis got the ball right back with a steal. Amis missed a shot, but got the offensive rebound to keep the possession alive with 1:17 remaining.

Hawaii milked the shot clock down, but that backfired when Thompson's layup wouldn't fall. Amis (10 points, nine rebounds) got the rebound, but was unable to connect on the putback attempt.

Oliver tied the score at 59 with 17 seconds left, the ninth tie of the contest. The score was set up by DaShawn Wright's offensive rebound of Webster's missed layup.

Amis had a chance to put Hawaii ahead, but he missed both free throws with 9 seconds left. Adhar Mayen grabbed an offensive rebound, but had the ball stolen by Wright.

Wright tipped the ball to Oliver, who was going for a breakaway layup even with Kareem Nitoto holding the back of his jersey. Oliver's shot didn't go down, and Nitoto landed up against the basket support. The game was delayed for several minutes before he was taken from the court. Nitoto had a bruised back, but is expected to play against NMSU.

The officials called an intentional foul on the play, which meant Oliver would get two free throws and the Spartans would retain possession.

Nash didn't agree with the call.

“;I want to go back and look at it,”; Nash said. “;I think he (Nitoto) was trying to brace himself to keep from falling. The officials didn't agree.”;

Oliver made the two free throws to give the Spartans a 61-59 lead. Hawaii fouled Oliver on the inbounds play, and the SJSU star missed both shots. Hawaii grabbed the rebound and took a timeout with 2.7 left. Thompson had just enough time to throw up a 30-footer hat didn't come close.


WAC Standings

Utah St.132.867264.867
New Mexico St.86.5711513.536
Boise St.76.5381710.630
San Jose St.68.4291314.481
Louisiana Tech69.4001416.467
Fresno St.311.2141218.400

Louisiana Tech 76, Boise St. 62
Idaho 71, Fresno St. 68
San Jose St. 61, Hawaii 59
Nevada 84, Utah St. 71
No games scheduled


San Jose State 61, Hawaii 59























































































































































Rainbow Warriors (13-15, 5-10)



Spartans (13-14, 6-9)

Key—fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fould; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime—Hawaii 31, San Jose State 31
3-point goals—Hawaii 4-8 (Thompson 4-7, Nitoto 0-1), San Jose State 3-10 (Pierce 2-4, Owens 1-5, Oliver 0-1).
Steals—Hawaii 6 (Amis 2, Nitoto 2, Flemings, Thompson), San Jose State 4 (Graham, Oakes, Pierce, Wright). Blocked shots—Hawaii 7 (Amis 5, Nitoto, Thompson), San Jose State 1 (Webster).
Officials—Stanley Reynolds, Bobby Vetkoetter, Jimmy Casas. Attendance—2, 249.