After opening the Big West schedule with two road losses, the University of Hawaii basketball team picked up its first conference win of the season with a resounding 100-69 victory over UC Riverside tonight in the Rainbow Warriors’ return to the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH (12-5, 1-2 BWC) set season highs for first-half scoring and halftime margin when they went to the locker room with a 56-30 lead and the Rainbows went on to reach the century mark for the second time this season.
UH forward Christian Standhardinger led the Rainbows with a game-high 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Brandon Spearman scored 15 of his season-high 18 points in the first half. Isaac Fotu finished with 16 points and Garrett Nevels scored all 12 of his points in UH’s first-half surge.
Point guard Keith Shamburger broke out of a shooting slump with two 3-pointers in the second half and finished with eight points and six assists with no turnovers.
UH shot 49 percent from the field and outrebounded the Highlanders 42-28, with 15 offensive rebounds contributing to a 17-4 advantage in second-chance points.
UC Riverside (6-12, 1-3) rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to beat UC Davis on Thursday. But the Highlanders never challenged after UH sprinted to a 17-3 lead, holding UC Riverside without a field goal for the game’s first 5 minutes, 36 seconds.
Spearman contributed seven points to UH’s opening run. He hesitated on an open 3-pointer then — implored by the crowd to shoot — drained it and gave a shrug after giving UH a 15-1 lead.
UH’s lead reached 23 at 41-18 on Aaron Valdes’ driving layup with 4:58 left in the half.
The Rainbows shot 46 percent from the field and went 18-for-20 from the free-throw line in the first half and held a 25-11 edge on the boards. UH led by as many as 40 in the second half and hit the 100-point mark on Michael Harper’s jumper with 38 seconds left.
Sam Finley led UCR with 19 points off the bench while the Highlanders’ starting five accounted for just 22 points.
The Rainbows return to the road next week for games at UC Davis (6-13, 1-3) on Thursday and UC Irvine (12-7, 3-0) on Saturday.