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UPDATED: Warriors rout Humboldt State, 90-54

Fine-tuning itself on the eve of the season’s first big test, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team worked out some kinks and then sped past visiting Humboldt State, 90-54, Saturday night on Day 2 of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

A sparse Stan Sheriff Center crowd of about 2,800 watched Eddie Stansberry come off the bench to score a game-high 16 points — including 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point range — and Jack Purchase add 15 points and seven rebounds as the Warriors improved to 2-0 heading into Sunday’s tournament finale against North Texas (3-0) at 6 p.m. Humboldt State, which competes in NCAA Division II, fell to 0-2.

Brocke Stepteau contributed 13 points, three assists and two steals, Mate Colina added 10 points and four rebounds and Zigmars Raimo scored seven points to go with a game-high 12 boards for UH, which used a 20-0 run midway through the first half to blow open the game and never look back.

“I think the biggest point of the game was our first-half defense, I think that was the deal,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “In the first 10 minutes, we were a little out of sorts offensively and missed some good looks, and then started passing up some good looks. We did something similar last game (against Portland State), and both times we responded well. I thought in the second 10 minutes of the first half, we stayed consistent with the defense, and then things started to open up for us. They did a good job of cutting off penetration, and then we did a good job of eventually continuing to move the ball, continuing to attack those gaps.”

The Lumberjacks stayed surprisingly close early, with Jackson Strong’s 12-foot jumper from the right baseline bringing them to within two points at 13-11 with 10:14 remaining in the first half. But Colina answered with two free throws at the midway point to ignite a 20-0 run for Hawai’i, capped by Stepteau’s free throw that made it 33-11 with 5:45 left.

Purchase highlighted the run with two 3-pointers, and Buggs converted a traditional three-point play with a spectacular reverse layup and free throw.

“We had a slow start, we weren’t making some shots, and we also weren’t taking shots that we liked at first,” said Buggs, who finished with seven points and five assists. “Humboldt State — credit them, they switched up their defense a little bit, how to cover ball screens, how to help, so we just had to adjust. Playing a new team, straight (24 hours) after the first game, takes a little but of adjustment. So in the timeout, we talked about what we needed to do, what we needed to change, and we went out there and made the adjustments.”

After LJ Williams finally snapped the run with two free throws to close it to 33-13, Stansberry buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to start an 8-2 mini-run culminating in Stepteau’s floater that pushed the lead to 41-15 at the 3:35 mark. Stepteau later gave the Warriors a 47-21 halftime lead by working the clock down and then driving in for a tough-angle banker from the right side just two ticks before the horn.

The Lumberjacks later got as close as 60-38 after Zachary Christian’s 18-foot jumper with 12:39 remaining, but Samuta Avea responded with a three-point play to spark a 16-2 run capped by Brandon Thomas’ three-point play that effectively sealed the victory at 76-40 with 8:05 left.

“I wish we played better defensively in the second half … but I was glad we were able to get a lot of guys in the game,” Ganot said. “Good to get them some reps, they deserve that.”

UH, which received 27 points off the bench in Friday’s 82-64 victory over Portland, got a stunning 45 points from its reserves Saturday night. Colina, a 7-foot freshman from Melbourne, was particularly impressive with his inside play and also sank all four of his free throw attempts. Justin Hemsley, a 6-5 redshirt freshman from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., played a career-high eight minutes and produced nine points (including seven of eight free throws), two steals and one rebound while showing some impressive athleticism.

“It’s real valuable when we can get playing time for the young guys at this point in the season,” said Buggs, a redshirt sophomore point guard. “We’ve got the most confidence in those guys, and we know that they’re really good players … It’s different your first time out there playing at this speed and at this pace, and so it’s really good for them, I think it’s gonna be real valuable. You can see they already improved from last game to this game, and we’ve got confidence they’re going to continue to keep improving.

“Justin’s a really talented player, we all know that and have confidence in him. He’s still young … he’s learning, but he’s real smart, he learns and he’s a really hard worker. We all know that he puts in a lot of work, and so all have confidence in his game and we know what he’s capable of — that was no surprise to us, we knew that he could bring that. Like coach says, our rotation is open, anybody can play and everybody is ready. That’s one thing that makes our team so good.”

Stansberry agreed, saying there is more to come.

“Hemsley is a great player, he has a great motor and we all know he comes in with a hard drive,” Stansberry said. “You could definitely see him coming into the mix later in the season or as the season goes on. We’re excited, because we’re starting to see new faces get out there on the court with us, and we’re just mixing. That’s what’s great about this group — as we go along, we’re excited and just chipping away getting to each game.”

Ganot said North Texas presents the Warriors’ biggest challenge to date, which he welcomes.

“I think it’s awesome,” Ganot said. “They’re picked to compete for a league championship in Conference USA, they return six of their top seven, and that doesn’t even include one who was sitting out who is their leading scorer right now. They’re well-coached, they defend, they spread you out, they can shoot it and they can take you off the (dribble) … this is very much an NCAA Tournament-type team we’re playing.”

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

(Game photos courtesy Matt Osumi)

CLICK HERE to view photo gallery

OUTRIGGER RESORTS RAINBOW CLASSIC
When:
November 9, 10 and 11 (see schedule below)
Where: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) – Honolulu, HI
Television: All Hawai’i games will be live on Spectrum Sports – Channels 12 (SD) and 1012 (HD).
Streaming Video: All Hawai’i games on BigWest.TV (Must be a Spectrum cable subscriber to stream in Hawai’i).
Radio: All Hawai’i games live on ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KPUA on the Big Island, KTOH on Kaua’i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Audio Webcast: ESPN1420am.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Ticket Information: Lower Level – $30 all seats; Upper Level – $18 or $20 for adults, $16 or $18 for senior citizens (ages 65 and older), $5 or $7 for students (ages 4 through high school). Upper level prices vary by section. UH Manoa students free with validated ID. Parking is $6.

Saturday’s Results
North Texas 78, Portland 73
Hawai’i 90, Humboldt State 54

Sunday, November 11
6:00 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. North Texas

1 Comment

  1. So the only redshirt this season is Nedd.
    Colina is pronounced “Cho-lina”.

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