The shooting troubles appear to be far from over for the University of Hawai‘i men’s basketball team. The Rainbow Warriors (8-6) couldn’t buy a basket, shooting just 36 percent from the field including a 22% second half, in a 70-53 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
This loss, which resulted in a fourth place finish in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic for the ‘Bows, marked the first time this season that the team has gone without a double-digit scorer in a game. Junior guard Drew Buggs and senior forward Zigmars Raimo came the closest, scoring 9 points apiece. Senior Eddie Stansberry and junior Samuta Avea each tallied 6 points, with sophomore Dawson Carper left off the scoreboard altogether to cap off a down performance for the starting unit.
Meanwhile, the team got a solid contribution from the reserves, with three players combining for 23 points off the bench. Behind Raimo and Buggs, sophomore Justin Hemsley and freshman Bernardo Da Silva tied for second on the team with 8 points each, while freshman Justin Webster tallied a solid 7 points.
Hawai‘i continues to struggle from deep, struggling out to a 1-15 game. Stansberry in particular continues to struggle from the three-point mark, finishing 0-5 (2-9 overall). Avea joined in on the shooting woes, missing on all three of his attempts. Buggs was the only ‘Bow to knock down a triple, doing so in the final two minutes of the first half. The team reduced their attempts from three in the second half, but still struggled in a 0-5 half. The ‘Bows scored only 21 points in the second half, supplanting their previous low of 22, which came against the Huskies two days ago.
Things looked good for the ‘Bows in the opening half. Despite going 1-10 from deep, Hawai‘i was able to find points elsewhere. After giving up the early lead, the ‘Bows fought back to retake the lead on back-to-back buckets by Hemsley at 10:22. Hawai‘i would go on to hold that lead over the next five minutes, but would again lose it to the Yellow Jackets.
With just two minutes to go in the period, Buggs knocked down the ‘Bows’ only triple of the game to pull within one, before a pair of Hemsley free throws gave Hawai‘i the late lead. Da Silva’s last second layup gave the ‘Bows a 3-point advantage at the break.
The second half is where the troubles began for Hawai‘i . After knocking down the first 6 points of the quarter, the points became far and few for the team.
At the 9:51 mark, Georgia Tech guard Jordan Usher was ejected for a flagrant two foul after throwing Carper over his shoulder. The ejection only seemed to spur the Yellow Jackets on however. Over the next minute, Georgia Tech fought back to take the lead, which it would hold for the remainder of the game.
Meanwhile, the Hawai‘i seemed to be more affected by the opposing ejection, scoring just 7 points the rest of the way. The Yellow Jackets faced no such troubles, stretching their advantage to a game-high 18 points, before wrapping up the game up 17.
After the fourth place disappointment, the ‘Bows will return to the Stan Sheriff Center for one last test before the conference slate begins.
The Rainbow Warriors will take on Maine on Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. HST.