Jason Carter scored a career-high 21 points and Jeff Blackett added 17 points, including a pair of baskets in a crucial second-half stretch to lift UH to victory. The pair helped the Rainbow Warriors (21-11) make their third appearance in the NIT quarterfinals since 1990 and put them one win closer to a trip to New York City's Madison Square Garden.
Hawaii (21-11) led for nearly the entire game, but what was developing into a blowout turned into a second half battle. Nebraska (18-13) overcame a 19-point deficit and took the lead on two occasions in the second half. Trailing 83-80 with 15 seconds remaining, Nebraska had a pair of chances in the final seconds to tie the game, but both Marcus Neal and Brian Conklin were long on their 3-point attempts.
Jeff Blackett's free throw with 3.9 seconds left gave UH an 84-80 lead and assured the Rainbow Warriors its first post-season home win since 1998. Blackett's free throw ended a string of five straight misses from the line in the final 34 seconds that gave Nebraska life.
UH coming off a first-round upset over nationally-ranked Utah State, came out an energized bunch ignited by Carter. Carter nearly eclipsed his career-high in the first half alone with 14 points on an array of 3-pointers and a spectacular alley-oop dunk that brought the crowd of 10,300 on its feet. Led by their senior point guard, Hawaii took a commanding 49-32 lead at the break.
Nebraska would not fold. The Cornhuskers, playing its third NIT game in seven days stormed out of the locker room with a 22-5 run to take a 55-54 lead just five minutes into the second half. Conklin scored 19 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to lead the Nebraska charge and his fifth 3-pointer of the half gave Nebraska its second lead of the game, 61-60 with 11:47 remaining.
UH, however, scored 10 unanswered points and would not trail again. Blackett, who converted on his first seven shot attempts, scored a pair of buckets during the run and would score eight straight for the Rainbow Warriors to help them maintain their lead.
The Rainbow Warriors continued their torrid shoot, hitting 61 percent of their shots, eclipsing the 60 percent mark for the second straight NIT game. Four players ended in double-figures for UH which tallied 25 assists on its 30 made field goals.