'Bows Win But Unhappy With Performance

HONOLULU - The Hawai'i men's basketball team pulled out a sloppy 54-45 victory over Long Beach State, Monday, on the first night of the 41st Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Rainbow Warriors advance to the semifinals and will meet Oral Roberts, Wednesday, at 7:35 p.m.

Both teams struggled from the floor, shooting well below their averages. As a team, UH shot 28.1 percent, including 11.8 percent from 3-point range, while LBSU shot 30.5 percent from the field. The 'Bows also didn't help themselves at the charity stripe, connecting on just 16-of-28 for a 57.1 percentage. Sophomore guard Matt Gibson had a game-high 15 points while senior forward Jeff Blackett posted his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Julian Sensley was held to just nine points and 3-of-12 shooting. UH used a 7-0 run early on to take a 12-5 lead midway through the first half. The 'Bows pushed their lead to 19-9 before the Beach scored five straight to narrow the deficit to 19-14 with just under five minutes to play. UH out-scored the 49ers 7-2 to take a 26-16 lead into the half. The 'Bows extended their lead to 18 after scoring the first eight points of the second half. The Beach stormed back, holding Hawaii scoreless for nearly a seven minute stretch and out-scoring UH, 12-0 to close to within six. The 'Bows went cold, missing all nine of its field goal attempts. LBSU inched to within 38-36 after a Kevin Houston trey with 7:14 remaining. UH answered back with Gibson's 3-point play followed by a Sensley lay-up to stretch its lead to 45-36. After a pair of Jibril Hodges free throws pulled the Beach to within, 50-45, with 2:22 left, the Bows stiffened its defense and held the 49ers scoreless the rest of the way. UH extended its win streak in the tournament to 10 games. The 'Bows are the three-time defending champion and has not lost a first round game since 1995. In action earlier in the day, Oral Roberts defeated Georgetown, 81-63. Caleb Green had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Luke Spencer-Gardner added 25 points, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles led The Hoyas will face Long Beach State, in a consolation round game, Wednesday, at 11:00 a.m. Action continues on Tuesday with Clemson and UAB at 5:00 p.m. followed by Indiana State and USC at 7:30 p.m. The tournament runs through Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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