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UPDATED: Warriors rally past Pacific, 72-67

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

Somewhere over the Rainbow, Eddie Stansberry just let the shots fly.

And most of them went through the net Monday night, resulting in a career-high tying 26 points to help Hawai’i rally past Pacific, 72-67, in the final game of the 55th Annual Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

A thrilled crowd of about 3,200 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Zigmars Raimo score the go-ahead layup with 45 seconds remaining and Stansberry and Drew Buggs (13 points, four assists) help seal the victory with six straight free throws down the stretch as the Warriors rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second half to improve to 2-1. Amari McCray scored 16 points and Justin Moore added 14 points for the Tigers, who fell to 2-2. 

“Wow — tremendous team win, gutsy win,” said acting UH head coach Chris Gerlufsen. “Was it pretty? No. But we found a way, and that’s all credit to the guys in the locker room. Couldn’t be prouder of our team and just the grit and fight that they showed to stick around, because we could have folded. It’s funny, it had a similar feel to the South Dakota game (Sunday) night, and we came up short in that game. But we just kept chipping away, and when you chip away in this sport, good things can happen in the end if you just keep persevering …

“I felt we made a lot of tough plays down the stretch to secure the win, and I couldn’t be happier for our guys.”

After Raimo’s go-ahead basket off point guard Buggs’ driving assist with 45 seconds left, Buggs and 7-foot center Mate Colina trapped Moore near the halfcourt line and Colina poked the ball loose. Buggs chased it down near the Warriors baseline and immediately called a timeout with 22.5 seconds left.

Photo courtesy Brandon Flores

“Mate did a great job trapping it on that ball screen, and I had no idea where the ball was until I saw it roll down the court,” Buggs said. “My job was just to go get it, I was trying to get in for a layup, but I was too close to the baseline. I knew we had a timeout, so I just grabbed the ball and called timeout. I really wanted us to get that possession, so we could get the ball and knock our free throws down.”

Stansberry was fouled two seconds after play resumed and sank two free throws to give Hawai’i some breathing room at 68-64.

Said Gerlufsen: “Me and (assistant) Coach (John) Montgomery had a heated conversation in the (previous) timeout — it was all positive — about what we should do: Should we trap? And by the end of it, we both got on the same page, and decided if we’re going to win the game, we’re going to take a chance. We hadn’t trapped the ball screen all night, so I thought it’d be a different look for Justin Moore, who is a very good downhill driver. 

“And sure enough, Mate just jumped out there and did a heck of a job getting big and wide, and got a piece of the ball. And to be honest, standing where I was on the sideline, I didn’t think (Buggs) was going to be able to get to the ball before it went out of bounds. But he had the foresight to dive on it and to slide and not slide to get out of bounds, and still be able to call a timeout. That’s like a play you put on your season highlight film, you might lead it off with that. It was just a big-time winning play, and that’s what we talk about, making winning plays.”

Jeremiah Bailey rattled in a 3-pointer from the left corner to close it to 68-67 with 7.2 ticks on the clock, but Pacific coach Damon Stoudamire immediately called a timeout despite the Tigers having already used their allotment, resulting in a technical foul.

Stansberry swished the two free throws and, with the Warriors retaining possession, Buggs was quickly fouled and sealed the victory by making both free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining.

UH led a tightly contested first half 35-33, but Pacific opened the second half with a 16-7 run and led, 49-42, after Bailey’s mid-range jumper with 12:24 remaining.

The Warriors clawed back and closed it to 56-54 after Buggs capped an 8-2 run with a mid-range jumper from the right side with 6:12 left. But the Tigers responded with a 6-0 run and Daniss Jenkins’ two free throws pushed the lead back to 62-54 with 4:17 remaining.

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

Stansberry answered with a 3-pointer from the right corner 17 seconds later, and then Samuta Avea drained a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:17 remaining to close it to 62-60. Stansberry then swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key and was fouled on the fadeaway, sinking the free throw to put UH ahead, 64-62 with 1:36 left.

Moore tied it back up at 64-64 with two free throws 18 seconds later, but the Warriors took back the lead on Raimo’s layup off Buggs’ driving assist with 45 seconds remaining.

Stansberry and Avea were named to the All-Tournament team. Stansberry, who struggled through a 2-for-13 shooting night in Friday’s victory over Florida A & M, was 7 of 10 from the field Monday — including 4 of 6 from 3-point range — and 8 for 8 from the free throw line.

“(Stansberry) kept us in the game with some unbelievable shooting, and he plays 40 minutes,” Gerlufsen said. “Just (a) phenomenal performance by a senior, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”

About a half hour after Friday night’s loss, Stansberry grabbed a basketball and went back onto the SSC floor to work on his shot.

“It feels great, to see the shots go in is such a great feeling,” Stansberry said after Monday night’s victory. “I started off in the first game not shooting so well, but you’re going to have nights where you see them go in, and have nights where they don’t. But just keeping that same confidence, and keeping that same energy, trusting my shot … I think any shooter should have that process.”

Stansberry also said better movement without the ball — along the baseline and running wheel and curl patterns to separate from his defender — have helped him to create more open looks and get into a catch-and-shoot rhythm.

“I learned a lot from last year, coming in from a junior college, that it’s just a lot different at the (NCAA) Division I level,” Stansberry said. “The scouts are way harder, they know your game, so last year I caught myself in a lot of film sessions just standing around and not being productive. I noticed that moving without the ball, and cutting and making effective cuts (not only) helps my game, but my team as well with the spacing. It definitely felt like it would have been a different ballgame if I just decided to stay in the corner and not make any movements. 

“Some of those shots do look tough, but I think some of those shots also (help) rhythm, just kind of get you going … so definitely it helped me out, to move without the ball.”

Photo courtesy Chris Kadooka

Buggs said getting back into the rhythm of winning was important for the entire team.

“We learned that we’re a tough team, and we’re going to battle for the full 40 minutes,” Buggs said. “We realized that we didn’t want to lose two in a row, and we wanted this to be a turning point and that we deserved to win this game. We needed to come together and make the change.”

Earlier on Friday, South Dakota defeated Florida A&M, 85-82, to capture first place in the Rainbow Classic. The Coyotes went 3-0 in the round-robin format.

Hawai’i finished second at 2-1; Stansberry and Avea were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Hawaii returns to action with another home game against Portland State at 7 p.m. Friday.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

CLICK HERE to view more photos

Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic
Monday’s Results

South Dakota 85, Florida A&M 82
Hawai’i 72, Pacific 67

Final standings
1. South Dakota 3-0
2. Hawai’i 2-1
3. Pacific 1-2
4. Florida A&M 0-3

All-Tournament Team
Justin Moore, Pacific
Samuta Avea, Hawai’i
Eddie Stansberry, Hawai’i
Tyler Hagedorn, South Dakota
Tristan Simpson, South Dakota
Most Outstanding Player: Stanley Umude, South Dakota

15 Comments

  1. Man what a game! This team has a lot of fight in them.
    We know Eddie can shoot but Samuta is really shooting the 3 ball
    Well with dudes in his face. And Buggs with colina on that trap and hustle play that was crazy!
    Great win Bows everybody contributed

  2. Good video and insights

  3. Ditto…

    —-

    Owen Hulland out indefinitely (several months +/-; got to rehab properly this time to not worsen / re-injure);

    Freshman guard Justin Webster may be available as soon as Friday versus Portland State; Probably NEED him against Illinois on the road; although Kameran Ng is coming along like a future fan favorite; and faster-than-even-Brock (Stepteau or Aaron Valdės walk-on-turn Impact-Player 😉

    Significant Minutes for Matė ‘could’ keep climbing; he lead team +12 when he was in game versus Pacific…coaches noticed;

    Eddie’s Improvement over the three game tourney is the kind of Step-Up Leadership i look for from Senior LEADERSHIP… Zigmars making key lead-capturing baskets AND Plugging away the Whole Game against Bigger, More physically-gifted front lines is the kind of toughness that anchors a young team growing through a break-out development season. And still, (because I believe there is More to You than we have Yet Seen, Zig)… I Suspect Zig WILL (And Coach WILL DRAW More from) Step up More…

    After Early-Season FIrst Gut-Check @Illini next Monday, (Brilliant Scheduling, Eran, no matter what schedule Boo-Birds think, Ferd…) there are several weeks of hard team practices with periodic game-checks including Road-Game versus OU-Ducks leading into the Diamond Head Classic pre-Big West coming-out-party…

    Watch, this young talented team learn and develop… kinda like entering Phase Two….

  4. I agree with Eagle about Kameron Ng. When he first came in for Drew I said uh oh. But then he made the 3 from the corner and I said oh yes! You are right, he will be a fan favorite.

    What is going on with Villa? He warms up and has his uniform on but didn’t even play in one game yet. The other injured guys don’t wear jerseys.

  5. Very entertaining game and it was great to see the fight in this team. Avea’s outside shot is greatly improved and Eddie has found his shot. I’m really surprised that Zoar Nedd has gotten game time before Villa. Unless they have already agreed to redshirt him I’m not sure why he’s not getting any court time.

  6. Eagle, Portland St next.
    To be confirmed but someone said Villa will redshirt

  7. Other than the staff looking to redshirt Villa, the fact that he’s gotten into zero games so far is very puzzling. The last we saw him was play a lot was the green-white scrimmage and he looked imo decent enough that made me think he’d definitely be the relief guard for Buggs. If they don’t intend to redshirt him then his freshman year is probably going to be wasted by this staff.

  8. Want to ReCONFIRM But pretty sure even a freshman redshirt can appear in 1/4 of games (7-8?)…
    Similar to redshirt freshman Chevan Cordeiro (in FB)

    [IM: REF…Previous Post: …Webster could be available as soon as Friday versus Portland State…”]

  9. As I understand it, the redshirt rules are different for MBB than FB. As soon as a player plays even one second in a regular college basketball game (not scrimmage or exhibition), he is ineligible for a redshirt.

  10. MBB is different. One second of playing time and you lose your opportunity to Red Shirt. If they are Red Shirting this young man then great. If they are not, they are doing a horrible thing to him. I would hope that this staff would be better than that. He is an outstanding young man. Let’s not forget that he was the player of the year in two different states and what he did in the Iolani Classic in 2016-2017.

    I sat on the table at the fundraiser with him. What a blown opportunity for the rest of Hawaii when UH didn’t put him on any of the panels. You would have heard from a wonderful young man. The nephew of Jarinn Akana, a former UH player. Horrible treatment. Not having him on the freshman panel was terrible.

  11. I really don’t see Villa getting playing time this year. Kameron Ng has shown he is a serviceable backup to Buggs and even he will likely loose his spot in the rotation once Webster returns. I was even pleasantly surprised with Zoar Nedd’s performance in the few minutes he’s received this year. A year to get back into basketball shape should really benefit Villa in the long run.

  12. @ Bows808

    That’s a tough position to take when the coaches won’t give any clock to Villa. I’m pretty sure if you let Villa play 10-12 minutes, he ends up with at least 3 assists especially if those are just hand-offs of Standberry for wide open 3s. The 3 of rotation has not shown me they are consistent press breakers. Also, Ng is very much a liability on defense. Again, just puzzled why Villa’s skillsets aren’t utilized even in the wake of Ali transferring and Webster hurt. Unless, of course, the plan is to redshirt him which I think is a good idea.

  13. Loca1boi Agree that he has a skillset that will be useful to the team, although do think he has a little ways to go to make a real mark on this years team. I think we need to trust in the coaching staff that they have a plan in place and know what’s best for the program. I do hope Villa can prove me wrong, I always love seeing our own succeed.

  14. Bows808

    I think we all know and agree that you do not want this young man to succeed. Anyone that has been on this website knows that you’ve been against this kid from the moment word came out about recruiting him, then again when they signed him, and now. Oh, but you will give a pass on the mainland players that sign without even playing one single game for UH. This kid played in the Green and White game, the whole game and did very well. For a kid that has been in the Bush of Africa and hasn’t played a game since February of 2017. That’s almost three years. Even you have to give this man credit for even being able play at this level without touching a ball for this long. He arrived in Hawaii in August.

    Either he is an impressive player and has improved drastically in only 4 months to be able to do that, or the rest of the players and coaching staff should be wondering how and why everyone else, who has been playing without a break for that long isn’t mikes ahead of him. We can only judge him by the Green/White game. They are not miles ahead at all!

    So, since everyone just gives the mainland players a pass and absolute love immediately, think about this. Is he really a Hawaii player? Only played here one season. In that one season, won EVERY award here. Before that, was a very successful mainland player.

    Trust these coaches? To an extent. Ganot’s only truly successful year was when he had Gib’s players and you know it.

    Prove you wrong? So, you already don’t want him to succeed because you are saying he hasn’t done anything to deserve to play. Has the whole team had to prove you wrong from the start of their careers or only this kid?

    It’s too bad that you have a premeditated mindset about this kid. Just tell the truth, there is nothing he could do to win you over. But, it doesn’t matter, we are merely all keyboard thugs and the only ones that care about what we say are the few that read each other’s posts.

  15. Buffnblu

    I compel you to find another instance where I have spoken an ill work of Villa. Either you are confusing me with someone else or you are delusional. I merely made the point that Villa is not ready yet for prime time minutes, an opinion that our coaching staff clearly shares. I didn’t negatively go after anyone in my previous post, rather shared my opinion. The fact that you bring up the idea that I am being a troll or keyboard thug is comical. Localboi and I were merely sharing differing opinions until you decided to step in with your negativity. Not sure why you are so triggered on this, but it might help to RELAX a little, we all support the same team and only want it to be successful.

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