On Jan. 9, UCR faced the University of Hawaii after losing 83-88 on Jan.8. After a very intense second game, the University of Hawaii had brought UCR to a tie game in the final seconds of the game. The scoreboard showed 68 points for both the home and away teams with five seconds left on the clock and UCR had the ball. Zyon Pullin had the ball as the clock counted down, and he found Arinze Chidom in the key, who quickly led the ball to the back of the net with a floater, putting the Highlanders up 70-68 and winning the game.
After having lost the previous night, Coach Mike Magpayo and his team were looking to turn things around this game in order to secure their victory. Coming in strong in the first half, the Highlanders were quick to secure a lead. Six minutes into the game their efforts had secured them a 6 point lead. Freshman Will Tattersall found the back of the net with a 3-point shot which put UCR up 18-9. Soon afterward, Arinze Chidom, with the ball in his hands, made a quick layup, which changed the score to 20-12 in favor of the Highlanders. Not long after, Chidom found the back of the net again with a 3-point shot and a layup that would further extend Riverside’s lead to 25-19. Chidom would go on to score a total of 15 points in the game, as well as 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
With 11 minutes left UCR had extended their lead but Hawaii’s rainbow warriors fought profusely to catch up. Hawaii chipped away and came within reach 25-21 with a little under eight minutes left in the first half. Eventually, Hawaii took the lead in minute 15 of the game, putting themselves up 28-27. This moment was short-lived as the highlanders quickly came back in the final five minutes of the game. Senior Jock Perry scored a quick 3-point shot that put UCR back in the lead 31-28. Despite Hawaii’s best efforts, Riverside closed out the first half in the lead 35-34. Perry, who plays center, scored a total of 13 points this game.
In the second half of the game, UCR maintained that same ferocious energy to open the scoreboard. A great 3-point shot from junior Flynn Cameron would put UCR up 40-34. Hawaii pushed back and tried to get some points, but UCR would not relent. The Highlanders pressed on, extending their lead by 11 points, leaving the scoreboard 48-37 within the first five minutes of the second half. Zion Pullin also pitched into UCR’s lead, adding three points to the Highlander’s score, leaving them 54-49 with 10 minutes left in the game. Cameron totaled 14 points and 3 rebounds this game, while Pullin totaled 9 points and 4 rebounds.
Hawaii did their best to come back with a 3-point in the eighth minute. Hawaii kept fighting to bridge the gap, eventually tying the game 56-56 with 8 minutes left in the game. This gave hope to the rainbow warriors for a few moments as they extended their lead by four points leaving the scoreboard 62-58 with under five minutes left in the game. This wouldn’t last long, as UCR came back quickly tying the game at 68-68 and eventually winning the game.
Coach Mike Magpayo was thrilled with the resiliency his team demonstrated, especially after losing the lead for a few brief moments in the last few minutes of the game. Magpayo and his coaching staff have found success behind their incredible defense paired with the steady shooting of their players.
UCR’s next game is against USC on Tuesday night, Jan. 12.