Honolulu, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) – For 38 minutes UH backup point guard Jeremiah Ostrowski played the best basketball of his life, but he did so to honor his father who lost his just a few days ago. The junior from Punahou high school, tallied 15 points, 6 assists and 3 steals against #25 Utah State Saturday night in a 89-84 2-OT loss, but his presence was felt beyond the box score as his teammates rallied around him for one of the most memorable and emotional basketball games in Hawaii history.
Ostrowski said he needed to be on the court that night…in fact, he didn't even think twice about whether he would play.
"It hit me real quick that it's a big game and my dad would have been real excited to come to the game." Ostrowski said. "And I just knew that he was going to be there whether it was here or up there you know. So I just prayed before the game that he would be there for me and he gave me all the confidence in the world while I was out there."
Ostrowski's confidence was evident throughout the night as he came up with timely plays like hitting a jumper with 1:51 to go to give UH a 63-62 lead and then following it up moments later with an assist to Bo Barnes who hit a 3-pointer to give Hawaii a 66-64 lead before Utah State tied things and sent the game into its first overtime period.
Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold went with Ostrowski over starting point guard Hiram Thompson with about 17 minutes remaining in the second half. Even when Miah picked up his 4th foul in the overtime period, Arnold said there was no doubt he would ride the momentum Miah had built.
"You know, I was going to go with him." Arnold said. "I was going to go with him. When he got the 4th (foul) he looked over at me and said I'm ok. And I said, I know you're okay. In fact you're better than okay, you're great. Get out there and keep playing and he did. And without him we wouldn't have been in this ball game without him."
Ostrowski said after the game that if his father were around, he'd have told him to shoot more. Miah was 5-7 from the field and 5-8 at the charity stripe. The two sport athlete (Ostrowski is also a receiver for the Warrior football team) admitted to being nervous, but he said this performance went a long way in proving he made the right choice to walk-on the Rainbows team.
The Bow's will be put to the test again this week when they hit the road for the first of two games away from Oahu, playing at Boise State on Thursday and at Idaho on Saturday.