A day after suffering its most lopsided loss of the season, the Hawaii men’s basketball team defeated East Tennessee State 84-61 in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic consolation semifinals today.
The Rainbow Warriors (6-4) will face Ole Miss (9-2) in the DHC consolation championship at 11:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.
True freshman Manroop Clair was a surprise starter at point guard. He responded with 15 points and five assists in 30 minutes. Freshman shooting guard Brandon Jawato also got his first career starting nod after scoring a team-high 12 against Miami (Fla.) in Saturday’s 15-point quarterfinal loss.
“After last night’s game, I felt that second half we didn’t come out and play our game,” UH coach Gib Arnold said. “We challenged, especially the bigs, that we don’t always control the outcome. We don’t control wins or losses, we really don’t. But you do control your attitude, your energy and your effort. Those three things I was really pleased with tonight.”
UH posted a 18-0 run bridging the halves to assert control for good on the Buccaneers (2-9) of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The ‘Bows dominated the backboards 49-26 on the undersized Bucs and got huge efforts from big men Vander Joaquim (season-high 23 points, nine rebounds), Christian Standhardinger (18 points, 12 boards), and Isaac Fotu (14 points, 14 boards).
Behind Clair’s four 3-pointers, UH made 10 from deep. The tourney hosts shot 50.7 percent for the game to 34.3 percent for embattled ETSU, which only dressed eight players due to injuries and dismissals.
“I felt good, but like, all that mattered was the win, how we bounced back from yesterday,” Clair said. “It’s a team game, and that’s what we proved out today and got the W.”
The ‘Bows jumped out to a 10-3 lead and went up by 14 points soon afterward. After ETSU crept to within 28-22, UH closed the first half with three straight baskets in the paint for a 34-22 halftime lead.
Earlier in the day, No. 18 San Diego State defeated Indiana State 62-55 in a semifinal game. Ole Miss defeated San Francisco 85-78.