Hawaii stayed with Florida State for a while. But the shorthanded Rainbow Warriors ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the Seminoles in a 70-62 loss tonight in the opening round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Florida State (10-2) shot just 32 percent from the field, but made 10 3-pointers and advanced to a semifinal matchup with Butler on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Hawaii (7-3) will play Utah in a consolation bracket game at 7:30 p.m.
“These guys battled, this team as never quit, they’re not going to, this is a team that’s got a lot of passion. Plays the game hard, plays the game together,” UH head coach Gib Arnold said.
“We did some thigns that hurt us, we gave up 23 offensive erbounds to an outstnding team that rebounds well.”
Florida State guard Derwin Kitchen made three from long range to lead the Seminoles with 20 points. Forward Okaro White hit his first four 3-point attempts and and finished with 19 points.
Hawaii guard Zane Johnson matched a season high with six 3-pointers, scoring 14 of his game-high 24 points in the first half as the Rainbows stayed within striking distance until the Seminoles broke away about midway through the second half.
Guard Bo Barnes scored all of his 17 points in the second half and forward Joston Thomas added 12 points.
But Hawaii, down to just eight healthy players, saw its attempts to rally in the second half thwarted by the Seminoles, regarded among the top defensive teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Hawaii weathered 12 turnovers and a 19-2 Florida State run in the first half to hang with the Seminoles, who shot 29.7 percent from the field. Hawaii trailed 33-25 at halftime.
Johnson provided the bulk of the Rainbows’ early offense with three 3-pointers within the game’s first 7 minutes and scored 14 of the team’s first 16 points.
But after Johnson’s third 3-pointer gave UH an 11-8 lead, the Seminoles hit five from long range to bolt to a 27-13 advantage at the 5:30 mark of the first half.
White pushed Florida State ahead by knocking down two 3-pointers and Kitchen’s second gave Florida State a 14-point lead.
But the Seminoles managed just one field goal for the remainder of the half and the Rainbows chipped away to cut the deficit to 30-24 when Thomas scored on layups on back-to-back possessions.
Barnes, who went 0-for-4 in the first half, hit a 3-pointer from the left side to bring UH within four.
Michael Snaer answered with FSU’s eighth 3-pointer and Thomas picked up his fourth foul moments later, going to the bench with 16:41 left.
UH trailed 39-25 when White hit hit fourth 3-pointer then drove for a layup to send the Seminoles on a 16-3 run to reclaim control.
“We made them work for some shots, but each time one of those 3-point shooters had an open look they made us pay,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “Those are the types of shooters you’re going to face in the ACC, when you leave guys open in our league they knock them down.
“We were a little more talented, a little bigger and stronger, but (Hawaii) fought the whole way.”