UH holds off North Dakota for win
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UH holds off North Dakota for win

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Hawaii guard Drew Buggs, left, and North Dakota forward Conner Avants fought for a loose ball in the first half.

Mike Thomas scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in the first half as Hawaii built a large lead early and then held on to edge North Dakota 81-78 in a men’s college basketball game today. A turnstile crowd of 2,852 was announced at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Troy, with 17 points from Wesley Person, beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 81-57 in an earlier game of the Outrigger Rainbow Classic.

The Rainbow Warriors (2-0) never trailed, and led by as many as 22 in the first half. UH outrebounded UND 21-8 in building a 46-31 halftime lead.

Geno Crandall led the Fighting Hawks (1-1) with 21 points. Marlon Stewart added 18, Conner Avants scored 14 and Cortez Seales had 10.

Leland Green added 18 for UH and Brocke Stepteau scored 10.

UND battled back throughout the second half, and trailed just 79-78 with 28 seconds left after Stewart’s layup.

Stepteau was fouled with 20 seconds left. He made one of two free throws, extending the lead to 80-78.

The Hawks’ Jafar Kinsey then missed a 3-pointer with less than 2 second left. Hawaii’s Gibson Johnson got the rebound and was fouled with 1.4 seconds left.

Johnson made the first free throw but missed the second. A desperation heave at the buzzer by Seales hit the backboard but was not close.

UH meets Troy (1-1) on Monday in the final game of the four-team round-robin tournament.

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