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Warriors face Georgia Tech for third place in DHC on Christmas Day

Despite a disappointing loss to nationally-ranked Washington on Monday, the University of Hawai’i basketball team can still make it a memorable Christmas on Wednesday.

The Rainbow Warriors will host Georgia Tech from the vaunted Atlantic Coast Conference in the third place game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day. The game, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2, is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawai’i is 8-4 following a 72-61 loss to No. 21 Washington in the tournament semifinals on Monday. Georgia Tech is 5-6 after a 70-59 loss to Houston in the other semifinal.

The Warriors are seeking to tie their best finish in the Diamond Head Classic. In 10 previous appearances in the tournament, Hawai’i’s best finish was third place in 2015 and 2016.

To get it done, the Warriors will need to adjust the scope on its recent shooting. In its two Diamond Head Classis games, Hawai’i shot 12 for 52 (23.1 percent) from 3-point range. In the loss against Washington, the Warriors attempted a school record 39 3-pointers, but made only nine.

In particular, leading scorer Eddie Stansberry is looking to get back on track. The 6-foot-3 senior guard is averaging 17.4 points per game, but scored just 12 points in the two Diamond Head Classic games while going 2 for 23 from 3-point range. Stansberry still ranks among the national leaders with 40 3-pointers this season.

Junior forward Samuta Avea is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Junior point guard Drew Buggs is contributing 10.3 points and 5.9 assists per game. He has 17 assists through the first two games of the Diamond Head Classic. Senior forward Zigmars Raimo is averaging 9.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, and posted 15 points and 15 rebounds in the loss to Washington.

Georgia Tech is a defensive team that is also struggling to put the ball in the basket consistently. The Yellow Jackets rank among the bottom teams in the nation for both 3-point percentage (.272) and free throw percentage (.611). However they are also limiting opponents to a .387 field goal percentage.

Michael Devoe, a 6-5 sophomore guard, leads Georgia Tech with 17.8 points per game. Moses Wright, a 6-9 junior forward, is averaging 12.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. In the Diamond Head Classic, he is averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Jordan Usher, a 6-7 junior forward, is a transfer from USC. He became eligible last week, and is averaging 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his first three games with Georgia Tech.

Hawai’i has an all-time record of 9-26 against teams from the ACC, including 2-2 against Georgia Tech (although both wins came in 1971). The last UH win over an ACC team was against Pittsburgh in 2014.

Hawaiian Airlines Diamod Head Classic
Wednesday’s Games
8:30 a.m. – Portland vs. Ball State for 7th place
10:30 a.m. – Boise State vs. UTEP for 5th place
1:30 p.m. – Hawai’i vs. Georgia Tech for 3rd place
3:30 p.m. – Houston vs. Washington for championship

HAWAI’I (8-4, 0-0 Big West) vs. GEORGIA TECH (5-6, 1-1 ACC)
When:
 Wednesday, December 25, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: ESPN2
Streaming video: WatchESPN.com / ESPN App
Radio:  Live on ESPN Honolulu (1420 AM/92.7 FM), KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i).
Audio Webcast:ESPN1420am.com/Sideline Hawai’i App.
Live Stats:StatBroadcast.com
Ticket Information: Lower level – $30 for all available seats. Upper level – $18 for adults, $10 for senior citizens (65-older) and students (ages 4 through high school). Parking is $7.

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