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Warriors hold off North Dakota, 81-78

Mike Thomas scored a career-high 29 points with nine rebounds and Leland Green added 18 points tonight as Hawai’i held off North Dakota, 81-78, in the 53rd Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of about 4,200 watched Brock Stepteau add 10 points and five assists as the Warriors improved to 2-0 heading into Monday’s 7 p.m. finale against Troy.

Thomas scored 19 of his points in the first half, when UH jumped out to a 10-2 start and then stretched the lead to 34-12 after Thomas’ free throw with 6:38 remaining. The Fighting Hawks then closed it to 46-31 on Geno Crandall’s running 3-point shot at the halftime buzzer.

North Dakota then opened the second half with a 15-4 run that cut Hawai’i’s lead to 50-46 after Jaqwan McCauley’s free throw with 14:41 left.

The Warriors later pushed the lead to 69-59 on Green’s baseline jumper at the six-minute mark, but the Fighting Hawks clawed back again and later closed it to 79-76 on Marlon Stewart’s layup with 1:14 remaining. After a UH miss, North Dakota regained possession and then cut it to 79-78 on Stewart’s scooping layup with 0:32.6 left on the clock.

Stepteau made the second of two free throw attempts to put the Warriors up, 80-78, with 19.9 seconds remaining, and Jafar Kinsley’s open 3-pointer from about 23 feet near the top of the key was just off the mark, with UH’s Gibson Johnson grabbing the rebound.

Johnson was immediately fouled and then sank the first of two free throws with 1.4 ticks on the clock for the final margin.

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

Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic
Friday’s Results

North Dakota 83, Troy 80
Hawai’i 82, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 70

Sunday’s Results
Troy 81, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 57
Hawai’i 81 North Dakota 78

Monday’s Games
Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. North Dakota, 4:30 p.m.
Hawai’i vs. Troy, 7:00 p.m.

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