In its last homestand of the month, Hawaii made a stand.
And a statement.
Led by senior forward Christian Standhardinger’s season-high 26 points and a defense that pushed back when pushed, the Rainbow Warriors basketball team defeated Montana 72-61 on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Sophomore guard Isaac Fotu and senior guard Brandon Spearman each added 13 points, and Hawaii (5-2) survived a poor night from the free-throw line (13-for-28) with its third consecutive victory. Montana (1-4), on the road for four of its first five games, dropped its third straight.
Grizzlies senior guard Kareem Jamar, who came in averaging 20.5 points, finished with a team-high 16, all in the second half. Junior guard Keron DeShields added 11.
The Rainbow Warriors held Jamar scoreless for the first half on 0-for-4 shooting. He quickly scored five points in the first minute after intermission and, when DeShields hit a 3-pointer, the Grizzlies turned what had been a 16-point first-half deficit into a 33-33 tie.
Hawaii answered with a 3-0 spurt to take the lead for good. Montana closed to
36-35 on two free throws by Mike Weisner with 16:31 left but got not closer as the Rainbow Warriors used a 9-0 run to pull away.
The Rainbow Warriors led the entire first half with Stanhardinger leading the way with 11 points over the first 20 minutes.
His jumper with 9:55 to go gave Hawaii its largest lead at 24-8.
A dunk by Aaron Valdes at the 5:45 mark equaled UH’s largest margin (28-12). Montana whittled it to 31-25 at halftime.
UH officials estimated attendance at about 5,500.
The Rainbow Warriors travel to Northern Arizona for a Dec. 7 contest, then play Chaminade on Dec. 14 at Kauai High. Hawaii is next at home for the Diamond Head Classic, Dec. 22-25.