LAHAINA >> A shortened rotation was more than enough for Hawaii to put away Chicago State 86-57 tonight at the Lahaina Civic Center on Maui.
Behind career-high scoring nights from two players, the Rainbow Warriors (7-2) steadily pulled away from the Cougars (3-10).
Six UH players did the bulk of the work once one of the team’s two point guards, Hiram Thompson, was upended and took an awful fall on his side just 5 minutes in. The senior didn’t return.
The career-high players were Zane Johnson (21 points) and Douglas Kurtz (12). Bo Barnes added 17 points, Joston Thomas 15, and Bobby Miles dished a career-high 10 assists.
It technically was a neutral site game, but 981 vocal Maui fans cheered on the Rainbows in their first interisland game in seven years.
UH blew open the game with a 22-3 run bridging the halves and led by as many as 32 points late. Johnson’s fifth 3-pointer put UH up 70-40 with 9:35 to play.
The Cougars of the Great West Conference gave UH a steady dose of fullcourt pressure and zone defense all game.
The Rainbows shook off some first-half sloppiness. UH threatened to blow the game open twice in the early minutes, only to allow CSU back both times. But the Rainbows scored the last eight points of the first half, punctuated by an NBA-range 3 by Zane Johnson to beat the buzzer and send UH into the locker rooms up 39-29.
UH defeated CSU for the third straight year in the islands.
UH was whistled for two technical fouls in the first half, helping CSU rally from its deficits.
The Rainbows were also without senior forward Bill Amis, their leading scorer and rebounder by average, for the fifth straight game. He remained out with a stress fracture in his right foot, meaning UH had only nine active players.
The rare interisland game was UH’s first since 2003, when the Rainbows went 2-1 in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.