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Warriors edge Nevada in thriller for Rainbow Classic title

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Roderick Bobbitt went coast-to-coast and softly layed in the ball off the glass with 1.4 seconds remaining early Tuesday morning to lift Hawai’i to a thrilling 76-75 victory over Nevada and the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic championship.

An energetic and vocal “Blackout” crowd of 2,143 at the Stan Sheriff Center and a national ESPN2 TV audience braved the 11 p.m. Monday tip-off and watched the Rainbow Warriors improve to 3-0 when the final horn sounded at 1:20 a.m. Tuesday. The Wolf Pack fell to 2-1.

“If you study the history of this program and this event — and we all should — then I think we can say we just witnessed one of the greatest games,” UH coach Eran Ganot said. “We have a tremendous past, and these guys just added to that legacy.”

Said Bobbitt, who emerged from a postgame dogpile at midcourt to accept the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award: “It was a battle out there. We just had to keep our composure and play to the last second, and that’s why we won.”

Nevada guard Marqueze Coleman, who finished with a game-high 34 points, scored on a driving layup with 5.6 seconds left to give the Wolf Pack a 75-74 lead after Mike Thomas’ three-point play had put the Rainbow Warriors ahead, 74-73, with 15.9 seconds showing on the clock.

Hawai’i was out of timeouts when Coleman scored his last basket, but didn’t need one as Bobbitt took the ensuing inbounds pass and raced down the right side of the court before gently scoring the winning basket over a Nevada defender.

“When Coleman made that shot, I’ve been in games like this and sometimes those turn into missed opportunities because of the devastation of that shot,” Ganot said. “But we always talk about getting to the next play — focus, get the outlet pass and here we go. It’s a credit to the presence of mind of our guys, and I’m happy for (Bobbitt). It was a tough shot … I mean, he got there (to the basket), but it was still a tough shot. Give our boys credit; sometimes players make coaches feel good.”

The Rainbow Warriors jumped out to leads of 10-4 and 12-7 in the first four minutes, but Nevada responded with three quick baskets in a row to take a 13-12 lead with 13:20 remaining in the first half. Aaron Valdes then scored on a putback to ignite a 13-2 run capped by Isaac Fleming’s tough layup in traffic to put UH ahead, 25-15, at the nine-minute mark.

The Wolf Pack cut the lead in half to 29-24 on Cameron Oliver’s layup with 6:11 left, but Sai Tummala scored a layup to start the Rainbow Warriors on an 11-4 surge to end the half up, 40-28.

Hawai’i stretched the lead to 46-30 after a 3-pointer by Valdes four minutes into the second half, but Nevada clawed its way back and closed to 63-62 after Coleman’s driving layup with 4:46 remaining in the game. The Wolf Pack then took its first lead of the second half, 64-63, on D.J. Fenner’s 12-foot jumper with 3:54 left.

After several more lead changes, Nevada took the lead at 75-74 on Coleman’s layup with 5.6 seconds remaining, setting up Bobbitt’s race to the finish.

Valdes led the Rainbow Warriors with 18 points, Quincy Smith added 10 points and six rebounds and Tummala added 10 points and five rebounds off the bench. Bobbitt also finished with 10 points.

Valdes and Tummala joined Bobbitt on the All-Tournament Team.

UH shot poorly from the free throw line, making just 14 of 27 attempts (51.9 percent). The Wolf Pack, meanwhile, finished 23 of 26 (88.5 percent).

“Free throws were a big deal,” Ganot said. “They were shooting great, and we didn’t.”

The Rainbow Warriors will return to action vs. Nicholls State at 7:30 p.n. Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

All-Tournament Team

Marcus Colbert (Montana State)
AJ West (Nevada)
Marqueze Coleman (Nevada)
Sai Tummala (Hawai’i)
Aaron Valdes (Hawai’i)

Most Outstanding Player: Roderick Bobbitt (Hawai’i)

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.

(Game photo courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

18 Comments

  1. Ganot goes to shake the opposing coaches hand and catches and earful. Why was that coach so angry does anyone know???

  2. I seen that..heard they were jawing at each other earlier…but don’t know the reason…Anyway love the effort from our guys..However these first three games we blew big leads, and the reason for that is because we can’t make free throws for nothing! This has been a constant problem every year..We are gonna need to improve in that area in order to win games on the road and to hold big leads..We also need to box out a lot better …Coleman was on fire for Nevada…We are lucky he was on the bench in the first half…but take care of our free throws and we will be in good shape for a tournament run

  3. What a game. What a finish! Yeah, when the game is on the line you gotta have your best player handle the ball. Clutch. But man, Hawaii has to improve on the free throws. The 2,000 plus fans sure sounded like 5,000 plus. Good job.
    GO WARRIORS!

  4. Go Bows! Excellent!

  5. I was watching the Nevada bench all night long cause the coach is a big whiner. I think what happened was when the horn sounded……Fleming ran in front of the Nevada bench and said something. Musselman(the Nevada coach) got all pissed off and was going to approach Fleming when a Nevada assisiant held him back.

    When Ganot and Musselman meet for the handshake Musselman got in Ganot’s face and pointed toward the UH bench…..probably telling Ganot about Fleming’s antics. My guess is this boiled over cause Issac got into it with a Nevada player early and got T’ed up.

    Fleming needed to tone down his antics and just play ball. One of these day…..he is going to cost us a game or even get into a beef……resulting in a suspension. Dude got a real hard head. Coaches and teammates tell him stuff and it just bounce off him. Listening must not be something he likes to do.

  6. I watch the game number 1 was trash talking the whole game it was a double tech. It wasn’t all Fleming it looked like number 1 started it….just stating true facts. Fleming keep ballin we fans see your getting your touch back! Go Bows

  7. Fleming got to grow up and control this sillyness. Garrans Ganot talked to him about it but it doesn’t sink in

  8. That one play where it went from Roderick to Valdes, then Valdes drove to the basket and made a terrific pass to Mike for the three point play was fantastic. The Nevada team seemed so quick and Ganot, i think, said they couldn’t keep in front of Coleman. It seemed like Nevada couldn’t miss their FT’s. They made it look automatic and only missed four while UH missed 13 .

    Credit to all the players, Q had 6 rebounds and 10 pts. in 36 minutes played along with Janks 6 rebounds. Fleming had 4 steals including the one right before the half and zero turnovers.
    Happy for Sai and Valdes named to all tournament team along with Bobbitt. Sai is shooting 69 % from 3 pt land and 60 % overall, so far.

    Somebody who earlier said that Jovanovic was _____ or something, has to eat his words. Jovanovic was tough inside with 3 blocks in 23 minutes which helped to neutralize AJ West to 5 pts and 6 rebounds. The freshman forward 6-8 Cameron Oliver had 13 rebounds and 8 pts. though, in 34 minutes. Fenner played 40, Criswell 38, Cooper 33 and seemed like Coleman played more than his 24 minutes.
    Gary Dickman said he’s never seen Eran yell at the officials or anyone ? which is in contrast to some other coaches. He just talks to the officials and not with too much scowling like Mussleman.

    The way the players piled on Roderick, you would think they won something big – oh wait, they won the Rainbow Classic, the last time was in 2012.

  9. Kahuna take your negativity elsewhere Hawaii Wins again Lets go warriors…..

  10. Can we overcome a 22-38 underdog challenge?

    Definitely, just utilized your talents; Defiantly defend your RAINBOW CLASSIC HOME.

    Warriors PLAYING WITH SWAGGER are CHAMPS!

    Mission accomplished in 39.84 minutes –

    The most dramatic finish ever!

  11. After watching Nevada they are a team that will finish much higher than predicted. This was a real nice win for the Bows.

  12. Coleman only played 4 minutes in the 1st half with only 2 pts. In the 2nd half he played 20 minutes and scored 32 pts. He was a scoring machine. Sai scored all of his 10 pts in the 1st half in 13 minutes.

  13. Yeah it does seem like Ganot, forgot that he had Sai ready to come back in. The referees in the game were garbage, 4 or 5 ghost fouls called against Hawaii, and it seemed like Hawaii was getting hit in the face on every play. Nevada gets called for it. But the referees fell like they have to even it up by calling a touch foul against Hawaii on the other side.

  14. Aloha….if you cannot handle the truth….then you need to grow up too. Someone asked about a Ganot/Musselman situation and I provided with the answer. I don’t consider that to be negativity.

    If you referring to my statement that Fleming need to grow up……I willl bet my house all the UH coaches would agree with me. Dude nearly caused a beef during the game and after.

    If you wants him to continue his unnecessary antics then you not into playing smart. Guy does a lot of stuff like running in front of the opponent’s bench and yak and also make that X sign all the time.

  15. Tremendous win over a tremendous team in Nevada. A winner finds a way to win and will propel this team to bigger and better things. Confidence is a funny thing. When you got it you can beat the world. The 7 veterans plus 1 showed the confidence, poise, and experience to pull out this tremendous win despite our poor free throw shooting and Marquez Coleman’s super hot play. We might have lost if it was last year’s team. And yes there will be future games where others on the bench will contribute and are indeed valuable to the team. But make no mistake about it; this group is the heart and soul of the team. Especially the 7 have had one year of playing together in game situation. That’s priceless when it comes to team chemistry. But overall a huge win for this team and program.

  16. thanks for explanation kahuna and it was not negative i could not work out what happened with the techs or after game Regardless was poor form of nevada to walk off before shaking hands I think what you are asking for from Flemming is humility no doubt he is a good player and prob a decent person but on the court he represents the team and hawaii he needs to show that spirit Neada whinged the whole night, players and coaches we were bigger than that until the tech But great wins and well done to all players and coaches As ESPN commentator said it is a team game

  17. Great start to the 2015 – 2016 season. Still much work to do. This was a game that could have resulted in a loss.

    At one point, Nevada was 13 from 13 at the free throw line vs. our 7 from 17. Not to mention, some of these misses were on the front end of a 1 and 1. The team must finish strong.

    Take it back to last year’s BWT. Had the lead the entire first half, only to lose it during the last 5 to 7 minutes in the game. Finish, finish, finish….

    Eran should’ve came out in the zone at the 5:00 minute mark. Coleman kept driving the basket with easy lay ins. Sai should have been brought in a lot earlier.

    Do the refs realize that they were on ESPN? The entire country saw the game that they called and they really called a terrible game. One of the refs appeared to be very rookie like.

    Issac – keep working at it and things will come around. Let the opposing team’s players jaw all they want. Let your play say everything about you and your abilities. It was the Nevada players that started the jawing when were getting ready to shoot the free throws. Just say, “ah c’mon” and let it go.

    Go Bows!

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