In a classic feud between older conference rivals, the University of Hawaii’s men’s basketball team won 67–63 over UTEP on the opening night of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Sunday at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH (8-3), which gained a nine-point lead in the second half, used a strong finish to the tournament’s championship bracket for the first time since 2015.
The wait for Rainbow Warriors will be at number 22 Washington as the team sets off for the semi-finals on Monday at 6:00 pm.
One night when UH struggled with free throws (12-25) and three-point (out of 3-13) lines, UH got a pair of careers from Samuta Avaya and Bernardo da Silva to save the day.
Aveya scored 16 points, but two of them added eight rebounds in the second half. Da Silva also had his best game of the season while shooting 9 of 8 with 17 points, while also adding five rebounds.
The effort helped prevent a stunning performance by UTEP’s Bryson Williams, which was scored by a UH opponent this year for the most 33 points.
The first half was back-to-back with nine ties and five lead changes. In the final seconds of the half-minute, the Miners scored six straight points to take a 37–31 lead into the break.
The Miners started the second half with nine points and led 51–43 with just 10 minutes remaining. When Avey took over, he scored seven straight UH points, including a three-pointer and constantly dipping on possessions to get ‘the bow back in the game.
UH trailed 60-58 for less than three minutes, but ‘Bose scored six unanswered points and snatched the game from the Minors (8-3). Avea pulled out a pair of free throws to tie it, while a da Silva layup with 1:29 to put UH up two.
UH eventually sealed the game on Drew Buggs ‘scoring layout as the shot clock ran out and the’ Bose had a 64-60 lead with just 37 seconds left. The Bucs finished the game with nine points and eight assists.
A longtime member of the Western Athletic Conference, ‘Dhanush and the Miners’, met for the first time in 14 years, beating UHP for the first time in the last five competitions with UHP. UH improved the home to 8-1 in a row at the Stan Sheriff Center.