The Hawaii men’s basketball team completed its season-opening tournament with a 72-67 victory against Pacific tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
A Veterans Day crowd of 2,769 was on hand for the final day of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic. They saw an entertaining back-and-forth contest play out in dramatic fashion in the final minutes, with UH (2-1) making the plays to come back from eight points down.
Senior guard Eddie Stansberry (career-high 26 points) kept up the hot shooting from his 21-point second half in a loss to South Dakota on Sunday night. He converted a four-point play with 1:37 remaining to give his team a 64-62 lead.
Point guard Drew Buggs (13 points) dove for a loose ball lost by the Tigers (2-2) and came up with it by the Pacific baseline with 22.4 seconds left. That resulted in two free throws by Stansberry.
Pacific forward Jeremiah Bailey stepped back for a 3 to make it a one-point game, 68-67, but Damon Stoudamire’s Tigers committed a gaffe, calling for a timeout they didn’t have with 7.2 seconds left. Stansberry sank the two technical free throws and Buggs hit two more on the regular possession to seal the outcome.
The teams swapped the lead several times in the first half, with the Tigers scoring the first five points of the game and the Warriors responding with a 12-0 run. UH led by as many as eight points in the period before falling behind again. UH took a 35-33 lead into intermission thanks to a 3 by Stansberry, giving him nine points in the period.
The Tigers reclaimed the lead to begin the second half and pushed the lead up to eight on a line-drive 3-pointer by Broc Finstuen with 10 minutes left.
Backup center Mate Colina stuck a putback to get within 56-52 with seven minutes remaining. Stansberry came up with a block near the basket, leading to an elbow jumper by Buggs with six minutes to go.
But Avea pulled up for a 3 to beat the shot clock to make it 62-60.
After Stansberry’s four-point play, Justin Moore tied it up for the last time at the line with 1:14 to go.
Buggs fed Raimo for a layup with 45.2 seconds left. On UOP’s next possession, Colina and Buggs trapped Justin Moore, with Colina coming up with the strip steal and Buggs the recovery.
South Dakota went 3-0 to win the Rainbow Classic title.