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Highlights: Hawaii defeats Montana State, 77-59


Something old and something new led to a blissful season opener for the Hawaii basketball team on Friday night.

Senior point guard Hiram Thompson scored 21 points and freshman shooting guard Bo Barnes added 19 to lead the Warriors to a 77-59 victory over Montana State on the season-opening night of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

A crowd of 4,735 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Gib Arnold guide the Warriors to the win in his debut as Hawaii head coach.

“Special night for me as a coach,” Arnold said. “I got a little emotional in the locker room after. It was a special night for the majority of our team … the first time they played a Division I game.”

Ten Warriors saw action, and six of them played in an NCAA Division I game for the first time.

But it was the most veteran player on the roster who led the way. Thompson shot 8 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range. He made his first eight shots before missing his last attempt late in the game.

“Every shot felt good,” he said. “I had the confidence going.”

He also added six rebounds and four assists with just two turnovers.

“Thrilled to have a player like Hiram Thompson to represent us as a senior and as a captain” Arnold said. “When it got tough, the guy put us on his shoulders and willed us to victory.”

Thompson drained a 3-pointer moments into the second half to break a 32-32 halftime tie and put Hawaii in the lead for good. The Warriors, who trailed by as many as eight in the first half, used a 14-0 run midway through the second half to put the game away. Thompson had four points and an assist during that surge.

“It was fun out there,” he said. “It was our first game, so we wanted to come out and give it all we could.”

Barnes lived up to his sharpshooter reputation, going 5 for 9 from 3-point range and finishing with 19 points.

“How fun is Bo Barnes to watch? We’re going to have him here for four years,” Arnold said. “He is an assassin with the scope deep and we tell him to shoot it.”

Barnes shot 7 for 13 from the field overall, and also contributed six rebounds while playing a team-high 36 minutes. He was quick to credit Thompson for creating many of the open shots.

“Hiram really opened it up with his drives and be able to just drive and kick,” Barnes said. “He got me open looks and I was able to knock it down.”

Thompsons’s freshman year at Hawaii was 2005 – when Riley Wallace was head coach and Barnes was in middle school. Thompson, 23, is the only married player on the team.

“Coach just wants me to go out and be a senior leader … if that means scoring or if that means just getting everybody open, he just wanted me to lead the team,” Thompson said. “I’m not worried about stats or anything, I’m just trying to get the win.”

Sophomore forward Joston Thomas added 18 points and six rebounds, and senior forward Bill Amis contributed seven points and seven assists.

Hawaii trailed by as many as eight points in the first half before rallying to the win. The Warriors shot 49.2 percent from the field, including 54.8 percent in the second half.

Montana State stayed in the game early with long-range shooting, but those shots eventually came up short. The Bobcats went 8 of 14 from 3-point range in the first half, but just 4 of 14 in the second half.

“We were watching guys shoot instead of running them off their shot and closing out hard,” Arnold said. “The last eight minutes of the first half we played our defense and it carried over (into the second half). At halftime when I asked them what did they see, and they all talked about defense, which as a coach makes you pretty excited … they were talking about how to stop them.”

Bobby Howard, Montana State’s all-conference forward, finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Montana State shot 12 of 28 from 3-point range, while Hawaii went 10 of 23. Both teams struggled at the free-throw line, with Hawaii going 9 for 20, and Montana State 3 of 9. The Warriors out-rebounded the Bobcats, 44-30.

Among other notable Warriors, freshman Trevor Wiseman had two points and seven rebounds and earned praise from Arnold for his hustle and defensive tenacity. Also, junior point guard Anthony Salter scored two points and played 16 minutes even though he sat out the last two weeks with a foot injury.

In the late game on Friday night, Central Michigan defeated Cal State Fullerton, 70-67.

The three-night Rainbow Classic will continue on Saturday, with Hawaii hosting Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m.

2 Comments

  1. Bummed the first game wasn’t televised publicly. 🙁 Will have to catch the replay today.

  2. Great game by Hiram! Finally looking to score and making defense pay for sagging off.

    Didnt like Bill taking those 3 point shots. He gotta understand his game.I think he was trying to match up with msu’s Bobby Howard.

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