POSTED: 9:25 p.m. HST, Nov 24, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 11:35 p.m. HST, Nov 24, 2010
Dealing with its first dose of adversity this season, the Hawaii men's basketball team overcame a cold start, built a double-digit lead and then held off Arkansas-Pine Bluff 70-63 tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors closed their season-opening homestand by improving to 5-0 before a crowd of 4,117 (5,676 tickets issued).
The Rainbows played without senior forward Bill Amis, their leading scorer and rebounder through four games. Amis watched from the bench with a boot protecting a stress fracture in his right foot. He is expected to be sidelined for about a month.
Freshman guard Bo Barnes made his first start and Joston Thomas started at power forward in Amis' place.
Thomas and guard Zane Johnson both finished with 16 points. Point guard Hiram Thompson scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half. UH center Vander Joaquim grabbed 16 rebounds in his strongest performance of the young season.
Thomas had three of the first five field goals for the Rainbows, who opened 4-for-16 from the field, missed their first seven 3-point attempts, and committed 10 turnovers in the game's first 15 minutes.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff didn't fare much better, but an 8-for-18 shooting start was enough to give the Lions a 21-15 lead.
Johnson finally broke the seal on the bucket with UH's first 3-pointer at the 1:35 mark of the first half and Barnes hit another with 5 seconds left to send the Rainbows into halftime trailing 32-29.
Hawaii trailed 39-37 when Thomas drove the lane and zipped a pass out to Johnson on the wing for an open 3-pointer to give UH the lead.
Johnson added another 3-pointer less than 2 minutes later and his two free throws capped a 14-2 UH run.
Hawaii led 60-48 before Arkansas-Pine Bluff chipped away and closed to within five on two free throws by Savalace Townsend with 2:38 left.
But Thomas answered with a tough shot in the paint and Barnes hit his third 3 to stretch the UH lead back to double digits and UH held on down the stretch to keep Arkansas-Pine Bluff winless at 0-5.