In the Hawaii basketball team’s first true nonconference mainland road game in two years, the Rainbow Warriors came up short in an 80-60 loss at Utah of the Pac-12 today.
Freshman point guard Drew Buggs came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points for UH (4-2), which plays the remainder of its nonconference schedule at home. Senior forward Mike Thomas added 12 points and six rebounds.
Post player Gibson Johnson struggled in his Beehive State homecoming, shooting 2-for-10 from the field for five points, all in the first half. UH was held to 36.5 percent shooting from the field compared to Utah’s 44.6 percent, and the Rainbows were outrebounded by their widest gap this year, 46-32.
Forwards David Collette and Donnie Tillman led the Runnin’ Utes (6-1) with 16 points apiece. Guard Gabe Bealer added 14 for Utah and former Long Beach State point guard Justin Bibbins chipped in 13.
UH turned it over in bunches early, fell behind by 13, but clawed back late in the half behind Buggs. He stuck a 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer to bring his team within 37-30. He had 12 points, two assists, a block, a steal and no turnovers at intermission.
Buggs started the second half in place of Brocke Stepteau but had only two points, an assist and two turnovers from there.
Thomas scored on a take to the basket to open the second half, bringing UH within five.
Utah used an 8-0 run to go up 47-34.
Jack Purchase hit his first 3-pointer in three games to bring UH within eight, but the Utes answered with consecutive triples by Bealer to go back up 14.
The ’Bows continued to struggle in outside shooting, going 4-for-22 on 3s (18.2 percent). Purchase was 1-for-8.
Forward Jace Johnson’s offensive rebound and three-point play made it 59-40 with 11 minutes remaining. UH got within 12 but no closer down the stretch.