'Bows Hold Off Gaels, 84-77

HONOLULU - Junior Julian Sensley and senior Jeff Blackett combined to score 41 points as the Hawai'i men's basketball team defeated Saint Mary's, 84-77, Saturday night, at the Stan Sheriff Center. Sensley had a season-high 23 points while Blackett scored 18 before leaving the game late in the second half with a concussion.

The Rainbow Warriors improved to 5-0 on the year and matched its best start since the 1997-98 season. Sensley shot 10-of-15 from the field while Blackett nearly posted a double-double with nine rebounds. Sophomore Bobby Nash scored 10, all in the first half, before suffering from cramps in the second half. UH nearly let a double-digit lead slip away late in the game as SMC used a 10-1 run to pull within 76-71 and 78-73 with under a minute to play. As a team, UH shot a season-high 62.5 percent from the field despite missing all four of its 3-point field goal attempts. The 'Bows also dished out 21 assists. In the first half, the 'Bows took an early 17-15 lead on a Nash to Sensley alley-oop, which electrified the crowd of 7,518, dressed in white as part of the traditional "White-Out" game. The teams traded baskets until SMC took the lead with a Brett Collins steal and breakaway jam, 25-24. Matthew Gipson's dunk put UH back on top (28-27) and UH closed the half with a 12-2 run to take a 38-29 lead into the half. Sensley scored 15 in the period on 7-of-9 shooting, while Nash had shot 5-of-7 from the floor. It was all UH in the second half as it pushed its lead to 15 with 11:52 remaining. UH held a comfortable 75-61 advantage with just over 2:00 to play until the Gaels used a 10-1 run with the help of 3-pointers by Collins and Jason Walberg. But the 'Bows converted its free throws down the stretch to pull out the victory. The Gaels were led by Daniel Kickert's 22 points and eight rebounds. Collins came off the bench and added 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Paul Marigney saw his first action of the season midway through the first half after missing the team's first nine games due to academics. He finished with six points and two rebounds. Senior Jake Sottos did not play in the game after suffering a neck injury in practice during the week. Matt Gibson scored 13 points while Deonte Tatum added eight points while playing a season-high 34 minutes. The 'Bows next host the 41st Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Dec. 20-23, at the Stan Sheriff Center. UH's first round opponent is Long Beach State on Dec. 20. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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