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UH basketball team beats Colorado for third in DHC

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    Hawaii guard Garrett Nevels (1) attempts to get by Colorado guard Jaron Hopkins (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
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Hawaii’s winning ways continued on Christmas Day, earning the Rainbow Warriors their highest finish in the six years of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

A crowd of about 4,500 was on hand as the Rainbow Warriors defeated Colorado of the Pac-12 Conference, 69-66, in a back-and-forth battle in the third-place game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Freshman guard Isaac Fleming led UH (10-4) with 18 points off the bench on 7-for-11 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists. He was named to the all-tournament team.

Trailing by a point in the final minute, UH got CU forward Xavier Johnson to miss inside and called timeout with 32.2 seconds left. Coming out of the timeout, Negus Webster-Chan hit a go-ahead floater in the lane.

Point guard Roderick Bobbitt then stole the ball from CU ballhandler Askia Booker from behind and made both 1-and-1 foul shots for a three-point lead.

Johnson was well short on a 3 and CU took a foul on Fleming, who missed the front end of the 1-and-1 free throws.

But CU (7-5) was unable to draw iron on Askia Booker’s desperation heave to tie at the buzzer.

Webster-Chan and guard Garrett Nevels scored 12 points apiece in the win. Bobbitt scored nine and center Stefan Jovanovic added eight big points off the bench on 4-for-6 shooting.

UH was outrebounded 41-29 but helped make up for it by going 9-for-18 on 3-pointers. The ‘Bows dealt 15 team assists against only nine turnovers, blocked six shots and had nine steals.

Forward Aaron Valdes dealt with foul trouble throughout and fouled out with a season-low two points with 2:33 to play.

UH lost Bobbitt for about 10 minutes of game time spanning the first and second halves when a Buffaloes player came down with an elbow to Bobbitt’s face. He returned a few minutes into the second half.

Garrett Nevels buried an open 3 to make it 45-41 UH with 15:38 to play. UH was 7-for-13 from deep at that point.

Stefan Jankovic swatted Askia Booker’s shot in the lane, leading to a three-point chance (uncompleted) for Fleming at the other end and a 54-47 lead with 11:38 remaining.

Center Stefan Jovanovic hit the Buffs with nifty up-and-under move for a 58-50 lead, but then UH had an untimely scoring drought lasting over 4:30.

CU capitalized with a 12-0 run to capture the lead, temporarily.

UH yielded 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, the key factor in allowing the Buffaloes to take a 33-32 lead at halftime.

Forward Aaron Valdes, UH’s leading scorer on the season, picked up his third foul with 8:44 to play in the period and remained scoreless until a putback late in the game.

Nebraska won the DHC consolation championship with a 71-58 defeat of Ohio. In the seventh-place game, Loyola Marymount beat DePaul 72-69.

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