Hawai’i opens Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic title defense with win over Portland

Hawai’i opens Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic title defense with win over Portland

Hawaii opens Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic title defense with win over Portland

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED DEC 21, 2023

HONOLULU — Confident Matthue Cotton, double-double machine Bernardo de Silva and a quarterfinal victory for the ‘Bows. 

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors men’s basketball team (8-2) started slow and ended fast Thursday night, taking down the University of Portland Pilots (6-7), 69-56, to open the 2023 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic slate for the home team. Cotton finished with a team-high 15 points, 13 coming in the second half, as de Silva posted his third double-double in the last four games to help hold of a furious Portland comeback try late. 

The Pilots put up the game’s first points with a layup inside before Justin McKoy answered back immediately, drilling a three-pointer from the right wing to give the ‘Bows their first lead of the night, 3-2. UH captain Bernardo de Silva followed it up with a layup to make it 5-2 before a 7-0 Portland run pushed the visitors out of the WCC ahead, 9-5.  

A Noel Coleman triple following under-12 media timeout ended a near-three minute UH scoring drought and cut the deficit to one. Hawai’i tied the game at 13 just a minute and a half later when defending DMC MVP JoVon McClanahan got on the score sheet with a left-wing three and took a 16-14 lead two possessions later when McKoy hit from the same spot behind the arc. UH guard Juan Munoz then hit the squad’s third consecutive make from long range to make it 19-16 before picking up an assist with a nice floating post feed to de Silva, extending the Hawai’i lead to five. 

“I thought [Portland] did a great job early, we had to weather a lot… we didn’t shoot it well early,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said after the game. “We are a great shooting team and so I like that we were still aggressive. It’s different when you take bad ones. We had some good looks early, but [the guys] stuck with it.” 

The back-and-forth would continue until Mor Seck electrified the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center crowd with a monster block with 2:51 left in the 1st half and Hawai’i leading 25-22. The momentum from the swat rolled into a 30-22 Hawai’i advantage, accented by a powerful Cotton tomahawk jam that got the crowd buzzing before Portland’s Bol Dengdit hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to quiet it down once again.  

Hawai’i used back-to-back Noel Coleman buckets, including a nifty layup in traffic with 12 seconds left in the half, to secure a seven-point advantage going into halftime. 

Eran Ganot’s team extended the lead to 12 quickly after the break with five fast points, fueled by a McClanahan three and Cotton putback to force a Portland timeout. McClanahan would hit a baseline jumper to make it a 14-point game before the Pilots finally scored for the first time in the second half. 

Hawai’i continued the solid second-half start with infectious ball movement, pushing the lead up to 18 after a beautiful transition break with McClanahan, Coleman, Cotton and de Silva all getting touches with only two combined dribbles taken to go the length of the floor for the score. 

Following a 30-second Pilots’ timeout, Portland began to cut into the UH lead, bringing it down to 11 with just over 10 minutes remaining. The WCC-representatives cut it to a seven-point deficit with 5:06 left in regulation and forced a Hawai’i timeout, continuing to fight hard while looking for the program’s first win in the history of the Diamond Head Classic (Portland finished eighth in 2019, going 0-3 in the event in the only other appearance in the DHC for the Pilots). 

Hawai’i was provided some breathing room after the timeout with back-to-back threes from Cotton — one from each of the right and left corners — being coupled with a tough de Silva post finish, extending the lead back to 15 with just under 3 minutes left to play. 

“Always being aggressive, ready to shoot and my teammates were able to find me,” Cotton said were the reasons for his hot second half after the game. “Once I see the ball go through the rim, confidence-wise, it’s a good feeling.” 

The ‘Bows closed the game out feeling good, going on a 12-6 run to take the quarterfinal matchup over Portland, 69-56, and calmly move into Friday’s semifinal round against Georgia Tech. The Yellowjackets, hailing out of the ACC, defeated UMass in a thrilling 69-66 comeback victory earlier on Thursday and will face off against UH for the first time since 2019 in the DHC (Georgia Tech was a 70-53 winner over Hawai’i in the tournament’s third-place game). 

Portland’s Vukasin Masic finished with a game-best 18 points to lead the way for the Pilots, who will take on UMass in the consolation bracket on Friday. The guard drilled all three of his attempts from range. 

UH’s McClanahan handed out a season-high seven dimes while committing zero (0) turnovers in the win for Hawai’i, the fourth consecutive Diamond Head Classic victory for the program after winning the event last year for the first time ever. Noel Coleman finished in double figures for the ninth time in ten games this season with 14 points, knocking down a pair from long distance and going 6-for-11 overall from the floor. 

The ‘Bows take on Georgia Tech on Friday, December 22 at 6:00 p.m. HT/11:00 p.m. ET with a spot in the tournament’s title game on Christmas Eve on the line. 

Purdue holds off Marquette to win 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational title

Purdue holds off Marquette to win 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational title

HONOLULU, HI – NOVEMBER 22: Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) dunks against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the championship game of the Allstate Maui Invitational on November 22, 2023, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire)

Purdue holds off Marquette to win 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational title

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2023

HONOLULU — Pegged as “the greatest [Maui Invitational] field” ever with five teams in the preseason AP top 25 rankings, a UCLA team that went to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last year and an athletic Syracuse team that ended the Thanksgiving-week tournament with an event-high 105 points against Chaminade, expectations for the eventual championship matchup were high. 

The #2 Purdue Boilermakers and #4 Marquette Golden Eagles did not disappoint, as the top-5 matchup to close out an exciting three days of the 2023 Allstate Maui Invitational came down to the wire, seeing the Boilermakers hold off a spirited Golden Eagles’ comeback try to secure the program’s first title in the Hawai’i-based event, 78-75. 

The two squads traded buckets and the lead to begin the championship action, knotted at 12 just under six minutes into the game. Marquette star forward Oso Ighodaro would pick up his second personal foul with 14:37 left in the 1st half, opening the paint and driving lanes for Purdue and defending national player of the year Zach Edey to take a double-digit lead deep into the half. 

Ighodaro’s return at the 4:30 mark of the 1st half with the Golden Eagles trailing by eight helped Marquette keep the deficit around 10, cutting it as low as six, before Purdue’s Lance Jones’ three-quarter court heave went down to give the Boilermakers a 12-point advantage heading into the halftime break, 45-33. 

“I think the foul trouble in the first half really took away from our violence of action,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said after the game. “That’s how we play. It’s a great lesson for us to learn early in the year, November 22, that regardless of circumstances, we have to play our way.” 

The fourth-ranked Golden Eagles came out of the locker rooms with their metaphorical hair on fire, cutting a 15-point Purdue lead down to seven just over four minutes into the 2nd half with three triples and forcing a Boilermakers’ timeout. 

Following the timeout for Purdue, Edey put down a pair of buckets to settle things for the 2nd-ranked Boilermakers and put the lead back over 10. Still, Marquette would not go away with a boost from Ighodaro not being glued to the bench with foul trouble. The Golden Eagles cut it down to three with 10:37 left in regulation after Ben Gold hammered home a fast-break dunk, but Purdue continued to answer in big moments, this time Fletcher Loyer with a short jumper to push the lead back to five. 

While Marquette continued to fight, never letting the game get away, Edey silenced each MU-run with timely baskets and offensive rebounds. In the game’s biggest moment with the outcome in question, the 7-foot-4 Canadian snagged a missed Purdue 3-pointer and put it back up and in with 16 seconds left to give a three-point lead to the Boilermakers. 

Marquette had a couple of opportunities to tie it after the Edey bucket with Tyler Kolek’s 3-point attempt with 10 seconds left and two missed free throws on the front end of 1-and-1’s for Purdue keeping the margin separating the two at one long-distance make. MU’s Kam Jones had a look, albeit difficult, at the horn to tie it that didn’t go down as the #4 Golden Eagles fell to #2 Purdue, 78-75. 

Edey and Lance Jones joked in the postgame press conference about who had hit the bigger shot for Purdue, who secured its first Maui Invitational title in four tries, as Edey had the later bucket, but Jones’ three-quarter court heave was the final margin (three points) between the teams. 

“His was,” Zach Edey said of Jones’ buzzer-beater right before halftime with a smile. “I mean, he shot it from, what, a hundred feet away? So, I don’t know, it’s hard to compete with that.” 

Jones, who transferred to Purdue this past offseason from Southern Illinois for a graduate-transfer year, quickly deferred the praise back to the tournament MVP in Edey. 

“I would say his was the winning-shot, his is the winning put-back, so I would say his,” said the fifth-year transfer. 

Edey led the way for the Boilermakers with 28 points and 15 rebounds in the win, playing 36 of 40 minutes in the title game. Guard Braden Smith added 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting for Purdue, who now returns home to host Texas Southern after defeating three ranked opponents in three days. 

Marquette was led by guard Tyler Kolek, whose 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists paced all Golden Eagles for the day in those categories. Oso Ighodaro, who dealt with foul woes throughout the game, had 16 points and posted a +10 for Marquette in his 26 minutes on the floor. The fourth-ranked Golden Eagles head back to the mainland and Wisconsin to host Southern University, looking to get back on track after a loss to finish an otherwise phenomenal tournament for Shaka Smart’s squad. 

The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks took 3rd place in the tournament after defeating #7 Tennessee earlier in the day, 69-60, and #11 Gonzaga defeated UCLA in the 5th place game, 69-65. Syracuse finished the tournament with a win over host Chaminade, 105-56, to finish in 7th place. 

Sweet-shooting Syracuse takes down Chaminade in Allstate Maui Invitational

Sweet-shooting Syracuse takes down Chaminade in Allstate Maui Invitational

Photo Credit: Andrew Lee/Chaminade Athletics

Sweet-shooting Syracuse takes down Chaminade in Allstate Maui Invitational

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED NOV 22, 2023

HONOLULU — The Chaminade Silverswords (1-5, 0-1 PacWest) started slow once again and saw the Syracuse Orange shoot 56% from the floor and drill 12 3-pointers as the hosts fell, 105-56, in the final outing in the event until 2025 for the Division II Silverswords. Seven different SU players finished in double-figures as the ‘Cuse put up over 50 points in both halves and shot a scorching 50% from 3-point land in the 2nd half to head back to the mainland with a win. 

The Silverswords lost the tip and gave up the game’s first points, a soft hook shot from 7-foot-4 center Nadeem McLeod, before taking their first (and only) lead of the evening ten seconds later with a Wyatt Lowell triple to make it 3-2 in favor of the hosts. The lead lasted just over a minute before Syracuse’s Chris Bell drilled his first 3-pointer of the game at the 18:20 mark of the 1st half to give the lead to SU, 5-3. The Orange turned up the defensive pressure from there, suffocating the Swords’ offense while the margin separating the teams reached double-digits by the 14-minute mark of the 1st half. 

Chaminade saw the offensive struggles of the previous two days continue, shooting 17% from the floor (6/36 FG) in the first 20 minutes of action while the Orange ran in transition and continued to get into the paint at will. While shooting struggles plagued the PacWest representatives, Syracuse continued to give the ball to the mountain in the middle in McLeod. The junior transfer from Florida State recorded a game-high 11 points through one half and chipped in seven rebounds as the Orange took a 52-18 lead into the locker rooms. 

Like the games against #1 Kansas and UCLA, Chaminade started the 2nd half with a fury by ripping off a 6-0 run and continuing to trade baskets with the Orange through the first five minutes out of the locker rooms. Swords’ guards Ross Reeves and Jamir Thomas started to get into rhythm after the turn of halves, getting penetration against SU’s defense and finding the touch from long range. After 1-for-10 and 2-for-7 shooting performances for Thomas and Reeves respectively in the first 20 minutes, the guards combined for 17 of Chaminade’s 38 2nd half points on 50% shooting from the floor. CUH leading scorer Isaac Amaral-Arthare continued his rough shooting tournament, going 1-for-12 from the floor and finishing in single digits (7 points) for the third consecutive game. 

Despite the strong start to the 2nd half for Chaminade, Syracuse’s athleticism and size continued to prove unstoppable for the Silverswords as the Orange put up another 53 points in the final 20 minutes to cruise to a 105-56 victory over the tournament hosts. 

Syracuse was led by Chris Bell’s 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting and four 3-pointers while sophomore wing Justin Taylor recorded his first double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the win. The Orange returns home to host LSU in the ACC/SEC Challenge inside the JMA Wireless Dome on Tuesday, November 28. 

Chaminade was paced by Reeves’ 13 points as the guard chipped in five boards and three dimes in the loss. JUCO transfer Jamir Thomas capped off his strong Allstate Maui Invitational showing with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds as the 5-foot-10 guard saw 30 minutes of action. The Silverswords return to McCabe Gymnasium on Monday, November 27 to host Slippery Rock at 5 p.m. HT, looking to get back on track and snap the team’s four-game losing streak against a step down in competition from the Thanksgiving-week classic.