Scoring punches by Christian Standhardinger and Garrett Nevels in the second half got Hawaii past Norfolk State 77-66 tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
A crowd of about 4,000 saw UH struggle with ball control and a slow pace by the Spartans in the first half. But the Rainbow Warriors overcame that with Standhardinger’s 29 points and Nevels’ 21 to win for the eighth time in nine games. Both players grabbed eight rebounds.
Senior guard Brandon Spearman aded 11 points after being named the Big West Conference player of the week earlier Monday.
UH (10-3) is off to its best start through 13 games since the 2004-05 season. The ‘Bows conclude nonconference play against Nebraska-Obama (10-4) on Friday at the Sheriff.
The Spartans (8-6) looked to slow the pace on UH and succeeded in the first half, taking a one-point lead at the break in a low-scoring affair. But UH shot 57.1 percent after the break and 51 percent for the game.
UH spearheaded a 9-0 run with 3s by Nevels and Spearman. Standhardinger blocked 7-foot Spartans center Brandon Goode from behind at the rim and point guard Keith Shamburger turned it into their largest lead at 38-32 with a layup in transition.
UH caught a break when Standhardinger did not appear to get a shot off ahead of the shot clock buzzer and Spearman got a putback basket on the shot.
Nevels’ fourth 3-pointer put UH up double digits for the first time at 48-38, but the Spartans came back with a quick 3.
Malcolm Hawkins converted a three-point play for NSU, getting it within 58-50. But Standhardinger came back with an and-1 on a pass from Quincy Smith to match UH’s then-largest lead of 11.
Standhardinger got a block, led the fast break himself and dished to Spearman for a layup and a 64-50 lead.
UH maintained a double-digit lead until Hawkins scored on a drive to make it 74-66 with 1:25 remaining.
UH was bothered by NSU’s size in the early going. The Spartans outrebounded UH 18-13 in the first half.
NSU pressed, not with the intent of speeding up the game but slowing UH down into its halfcourt sets. NSU consistently doubled Isaac Fotu in the post. He was held to four points and four rebounds.
Seldom-used Brandon Jawato hit a 3-pointer for a 16-13 UH lead, but the Spartans came back with a quick 3 as part of a 7-1 run to take a 20-17 advantage.
Nevels connected on a deep 3-pointer to beat the shot clock to knot it at 20, and Fotu completed a three-point play for a short-lived 25-23 lead.
UH ended a 4:23 scoring drought in the final second of the first half on a baseline jumper by Nevels. He was fouled on the made basket but could not convert the free throw and NSU took a 28-27 lead at halftime.
An official was down hurt and woozy after slipping beneath one of the baskets with 6:03 left. The two remaining officials continued the game on their own and the third official returned with 4:22 left.