Warriors fall to Mississippi on final day of Classic
The Hawai’i basketball team had one furious rally, but couldn’t come up with another in a 81-66 loss to Mississippi on the final day of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
The Warriors rallied from a 16-point deficit in the first half, but could not overcome a 10-point deficit late in the second half.
The game was closer than the final score indicated, as the teams were tied with less than four minutes remaining.
Hawai’i finished in sixth place in the tournament at 1-2, and fell to 6-5 overall. Mississippi captured the consolation title (fifth place) and improved to 10-2.
Senior center Vander Joaquim scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for the Warriors. Isaac Fotu added 11 points, and Christian Standhardinger scored 10.
Hawai’i out-rebounded the Rebels, 41-32, but finished with a .393 field goal percentage, including just 2 of 16 from 3-point range.
The Warriors struggled against Mississippi’s full-court pressure defense early in the game, and the Rebels looked to be in control with a 27-11 lead. But Hawai’i closed the first half with a stunning 19-2 run to take a 30-29 lead at intermission.
The Warriors started the game with three “bigs” in the lineup, but first-half rally came behind a three-guard lineup of Jace Tavita, Manroop Clair and Brandon Spearman.
The game stayed close throughout the second half, and teams exchanged the lead 11 times.
The score was tied at 63 with less than four minutes remaining when the Rebels went on a 10-0 run to take a 73-63 lead with 1:23 left. The Warriors never got closer than eight the rest of the way. The five Mississippi baskets during the crucial surge consisted of three layups and two dunks.
More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.