The Hawaii basketball team shot well from all over the court in stunning Utah of the Pac-12 Conference 90-79 in the first round of the Wooden Legacy tournament tonight in Fullerton, Calif.
UH (4-1) converted 52.8 percent from the field and 89.3 percent at the line in Titan Gym in advancing to face Seton Hall (2-2) in a 6:30 p.m. semifinal Friday.
Point guard Brocke Stepteau led the Rainbow Warriors with a career-high 24 points (hitting 12 of 13 free throws) and five assists; guard Eddie Stansberry added 15 points off the bench; forward Jack Purchase had 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists; guard Sheriff Drammeh made all six of his foul shots for 11 points; and point guard Drew Buggs tossed in 10 points and five assists.
Eran Ganot’s team had 19 assists to just eight turnovers.
Utah (2-2) was held to 44.1 percent shooting and fell into the consolation bracket against Grand Canyon (3-2).
The Rainbow Warriors overcame first-half foul trouble to lead nearly all of the opening period, and closed it strong to take an eight-point lead (39-31) at halftime.
Then the ’Bows turned on the jets, opening the second half on a 17-4 run. Stansberry pushed the lead past 20 points with four straight perimeter jumpers, and Purchase hit a 3 for a 23-point lead, the game’s largest, with 9:28 to play.
Utah rallied to within 13 points with more than five minutes to play, and got within 72-62 on a 3 by Vande Hendrix with 2:22 left. Parker Van Dyke’s second-effort 3 with 50 seconds left cut it to eight. The Runnin’ Utes played the foul game and got within seven with 13.3 seconds left, but no closer.
The Utes’ top player, guard Sedrick Barefield, was held to four points on 1-for-8 shooting. Donnie Tillman and Riley Battin led Utah with 16 points apiece.
Seton Hall was an 82-75 winner over Grand Canyon in the game immediately preceding UH’s.