The Hawaii basketball team prevailed in a bout against Rhode Island (68-60) and took fifth place in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic today at the Stan Sheriff Center.
In front of 1,728 spectators on Christmas Day, UH (8-5) scored an impressive win for the second time in three days after losing to UNLV on the opening day of the tournament.
Striker Zigmars Raimo scored a career high of 19 points in 8v12 shooting from the field. Point guard Drew Buggs contributed 12 points and eight rebounds. Brocke Stepteau came off the bench for 11 points and Eddie Stansberry overcame a slow start and ended with 11 points.
There were 17 leadership changes. Stansberry took the starting basket on his lone 3 of the game to make it 52-51 with 6:22.
Striker Cyril Langevine had 11 points and 14 rebounds for URI (6-5) of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Raimo, Buggs, Stepteau and Jack Purchase together scored 30 of UH’s 34 points in the first half.
At UH’s last possession in the first half, Stepteau hit the street, almost lost the ball, threw it out and the ‘Bows swung it into the corner to Purchase, who took the ball from his hand just before the buzzer and nailed the ball 3 – Pointer for a 34-32 lead at break.
UH rose on a pass from Buggs to Raimo between 46 and 44, who blew up and delivered him to Eddie Stansberry for a three-point game. Stansberry had missed his previous seven shots by that point.
The Rams regained the advantage on a pull-up 3 from Jeff Dowtin (17 points), but only for a moment when Stansberry swung a wing 3 on the other end. The purchase followed with a three point play on the next trip and UH had their biggest lead on that point at 55-51.
Stepteau’s free throws made it a six point game with 4:06 remaining. URI struggled to offend and missed the front end in three straight 1: 1 free throws.
After a time-out, Dowtin hit a corner 3 and the foul on Buggs – the fourth of the guard – but missed the free throw in a possible four-point game. UH stayed up at three.
Christion Thompson’s bucket on the second attempt put URI at 2:23 within 60-58.
Stepteaus Schlanker with one minute lead brought UH back to four. The Rams missed a 3 and fouled Stansberry, who made both.
The teams traded layups, URI missed a 3, and Stansberry hit two more on the line. Raimo hit a leaky basket to complete the scoring.