Hawaii was totally undermanned, and completely undeterred.
Unfortunately for the Rainbow Warriors, that defiance wasn’t enough against Florida State’s vastly superior depth in a 70-62 loss last night in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
A season-high crowd of about 8,000 at the Stan Sheriff Center witnessed the Rainbow Warriors (7-3) fall at home for the first time this season, against one of the top defensive teams in the country.
Unlike the schools’ last meeting in 1971, there would be no "Fabulous Five"-caliber magic against the visitors of the Atlantic Coast Conference. UH, the host of the second-year nationally televised DHC, fell into today’s consolation bracket against Utah (7-4) at 7:30 p.m. Florida State (10-2) advanced to the 5 p.m. semifinal against last season’s national runner-up, Butler.
Zane Johnson scored a career-high 24 points, Bo Barnes had 17 with a late flurry of 3s and Joston Thomas had 12 for UH.
For a while, the crowd had plenty to cheer about. UH, though missing two of its best players in Bill Amis and Hiram Thompson, hung tough for about 26 minutes. The Rainbows trailed just 39-35 at that point, but a 16-3 FSU run put the visitors ahead by double digits until Barnes hit a few with the game out of reach.
The Seminoles’ top two scorers, Chris Singleton and guard Deividas Dulkys, were held to just six points. But Okaro White (19 points) and Derwin Kitchen (18) picked up the slack.
FSU, rated the second-best team in the country in field-goal defense, exerted its will on the short-handed Rainbow Warriors. UH committed 23 turnovers while FSU posted a 48-33 rebounding advantage, had 14 steals and seven blocked shots.
Point guard Bobby Miles picked up his first foul 2 minutes into the game and his second before 4 minutes had elapsed.
But UH coach Gib Arnold trusted his freshman — almost without any other choice — because senior point guard Thompson was out with a bad back. Miles avoided picking up another personal for the rest of the half.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles had the luxury of platooning full units in and out. UH had eight active players.
UH got off to an 8-3 start, thanks to two 3-pointers by Johnson. Johnson scored 14 of his team’s first 16 points, but FSU continued to answer from deep and went up 27-13 via a 19-2 run.
Then Arnold summoned freshman forward Trevor Wiseman off the bench. A former point forward, he gave his team a boost with additional ball-handling. Thomas got in on the act too, with a fast-break dunk to beat the Seminoles’ pressure. The sophomore followed that with an outstanding lefty finish after absorbing contact, bringing the crowd to its feet.
UH pulled within 30-24 and settled for a 33-25 disadvantage at the break.