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Sixth Time’s the charm?

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

The University of Hawaii today announced that the North Carolina Tar Heels have agreed to a future game against the Rainbow Warrior basketball team. The contest is set for Nov. 22, 2024 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. The two schools were scheduled to play in 2020, but that game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hawaii and North Carolina have met on five previous occasions – four of them in Honolulu – with the Tar Heels winning every time. Here’s a look back at their previous encounters:

Nov. 28, 1986 – UNC 98, Hawaii 78: A Neal Blaisdell Center crowd of 6,350 watched the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels dominate Hawaii, 98-78, in the season opener for both teams. Joe Wolf led the visitors’ effort with 15 points and seven rebounds, while future NBA point guard and TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith contributed 11 points and seven assists. This Carolina squad also featured Jeff Lego, Ranzino Smith, Dave Popson, Scott Williams and a young freshman named J.R. Reid. The Hawaii effort was led by freshman guard Chris Gaines, making his Rainbow Warrior debut. Gaines led all scorers with 23 points.

Dec. 30, 1992 – UNC 101, Hawaii 84: On the final night of the Rainbow Classic, Tar Heel center Eric Montross put on a “monstrous” performance, putting up 28 points and seven rebounds to help UNC finish in third place in the eight-team holiday tournament. (A “Fab Five”-led Michigan team beat Kansas for the Rainbow Classic championship. George Lynch chipped in with 19 points and nine boards. For the Rainbow Warriors, Molokai’s own Jarinn Akana had 18 points and five assists, and Fabio Ribeiro had 17 points. Chris Walz contributed 12 points and seven rebounds.

Dec. 1, 1993 – UNC 92, Hawaii 77: Hawaii flew in to Chapel Hill, North Carolina sporting an 0-3 record, losing their games by a combined 117 points. UH fans back home braced for the worst – the visitors were 44-point underdogs – but the Rainbow Warriors fought valiantly and hung tough against the No. 4 Tar Heels. Again, Jarinn Akana led the way, scoring a career-high 26 points. The senior guard buried six of eight three-point attempts. UH small forward Phil Handy chipped in with 20 points. UH played without leading scorer Trevor Ruffin, who was out with an arm injury. In the battle of “bigs,” Hawaii’s Tony Maroney held his own against Eric Montross, recording 10 points and seven rebounds (Montross had 15 and ). For UNC, future NBA stars Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace contributed 17 and 6 points, respectively.

Dec. 22, 1994 – UNC 88, Hawaii 76: The Rainbow Warriors made it close, but the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels pulled away in the closing minutes to stave off the home team, 88-76. UH forward Justice Sueing hit a baseline jumper to pull his team within four, 71-67, with 6:28 left in the contest, but All-American Jerry Stackhouse scored seven points in the next three minutes to keep the Tar Heels ahead and send the sold-out crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center home disappointed. Stackhouse had 21 points and 13 boards for UNC, while Hawaii was led by Tes Whitlock’s 20 points. Anthony Harris added 13 points for UH, and Sueing finished with 12.

Nov. 18, 2016 – UNC 83, Hawaii 68: Another sold-out Stan Sheriff Center crowd watched the No. 5-ranked Tar Heels used a balanced attack to beat the Rainbow Warriors. Forward Isaiah Hicks paced UNC with 16 points, leading a group of five players who scored in double figures. Hawaii was led by Noah Allen, who scored a game-high 22 points. Jack Purchase contributed 14 points and Sheriff Drammeh added 13.

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