GAME NOTES: Coming off a thrilling win on Monday night, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try for a second straight victory as they close out the annual Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center against the Oregon State Beavers.
Hawaii had been flying high as they prepared to host this tournament in Honolulu, winning five straight games, but the opening round ended up with a hard-fought 62-61 setback to Boise State on Sunday. A day later the Rainbow Warriors came out on the other side of a close call as they scored a thrilling 76-74 victory over Saint Mary's.
Meanwhile, the Beavers also began the event on a sour note, bowing to Akron by a score of 83-71, snapping a three-game win streak in the process. Like the hosts however, Oregon State turned right around and notched a 58-54 win against George Mason the next day.
Unlike many of the matchups during the tournament, this is one that has a bit of a history, with the Beavers holding a 21-7 advantage over Hawaii. However, in a relationship that traces back to 1940, the Rainbow Warriors have won three straight over OSU, including a massive 85-41 blowout in the most recent encounter back in 2006.
In a game that featured 10 ties and four lead changes, the Beavers found a way to make a mere 8-of-17 shooting from the field in the final 20 minutes stand up as they captured the four-point win on Monday. In reality, the team was saved by way of the free-throw line, where they outscored George Mason by a 17-6 margin, thanks in part to Roberto Nelson who nailed all 10 of his chances, en route to a team-best 17 points. Also scoring in double figures was Devon Collier, who dropped in 15 points. Daniel Gomis stepped in to provide eight rebounds and five blocked shots in the absence of an injured Angus Brandt.
Nelson continues to pace the Beavers in scoring with 21.4 ppg, having made good on 85.5 percent (71-of-83) at the charity stripe. Because of Nelson and Collier (19.3 ppg), the latter having converted 46-of-75 at the line, Oregon State has outscored the opposition in that area by a combined 74 points at this stage. That advantage at the stripe has helped lead the team to 80.4 ppg, but still they are giving up 74.1 ppg which doesn't leave a whole lot of room for error.
A corner jumper by Christian Standhardinger with 1.4 seconds to play provided host Hawaii with a thrilling two-point win over the Saint Mary's Gaels in the semifinals of the tournament two nights ago. Standhardinger finished with 22 points and nine rebounds for the Rainbow Warriors. Also scoring in double figures for Hawaii were Isaac Fotu with 13 points, Brandon Spearman with 12 and Aaron Valdes with 10 points in the victory. Hawaii, which forced 17 turnovers and outscored the Gaels at the free-throw line, 22-12.
Standhardinger, one of four players to have started every game, is not only the leading scorer with his 17.7 ppg, he is also tops on the glass as well with 7.3 rpg, ahead of Fotu (12.9 ppg), who is now bringing down close to six and a half rebounds per outing. While those two battle on the interior, Garrett Nevels (12.9 ppg) provides Hawaii with a solid 3-point shooting effort with his 22-of-44 accuracy on the outside. With a total of five players scoring in double figures, it is easy to see how Hawaii is putting up 83.2 ppg.
Considering how well the Rainbow Warriors have played thus far in the tournament and the early part of the season as a whole, they get the edge here in front of the hometown crowd.
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