By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Earlier today, the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team got up by as many as 19 points in the second half, then withstood a furious rally to hold off Long Beach State, 72-67, to pick up a key road win in the Big West Conference.
Due to health protocols, it was the Rainbow Warriors’ first game since Dec. 23.
UH guard Noel Coleman, the Big West’s leading scorer, dropped 22 points on The Beach, including six three-pointers. Forward Jerome Desrosiers contributed 17 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Center Bernardo Da Silva, playing his first game since Nov. 13, chipped in with six points and nine boards. Walk-on forward Zoar Nedd added nine points on a trio of three-pointers. Point guard JoVon McClanahan had nine points, three assists and no turnovers.
Hawaii’s long-distance acumen was the story of this contest, as UH buried 15 of 24 shots from beyond the arc. The Beach, meanwhile, were seven of 15 from long distance.
“I’m going to focus on this moment for the [team]. They’re going nuts in the locker room,” UH head coach Eran Ganot told ESPN Honolulu’s Bobby Curran after the game. “After all they’ve been through, they came out today and led 35 out of the 40 minutes. I’m just so proud of them. They’ve stuck together and continue to stick together.”
The Rainbow Warriors improved to 5-5 on the season and 1-0 in the Big West. The team will return to action next week, hosting UC Irvine on Thursday and UC San Diego on Saturday. Both games will air on ESPN Honolulu, with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m.