Hawaii falls to Georgia Tech in Diamond Head Classic third place game
The University of Hawaii men's basketball team suffered a second-half scoring drought in a 70-53 loss to Georgia Tech in the third place game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Christmas Day at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors (8-5) completed the 11th annual tournament in fourth place, their highest finish since 2015. After winning their tourney opener, UH dropped back-to-back games for the first time all season. Hawaii's 53 points tied a season-low while its 19 turnovers were one shy of a season-high.
The Yellow Jackets (6-6) out-scored Hawaii by 20 after intermission including 41-15 to finish the game. The Rainbow Warriors were held without a field goal for the final 9:51 going 0-for-8.
For the first time all season, Hawaii did not have a player in double-figures. Drew Buggs and Zigmars Raimo each led the team with nine points. Two nights after shooting a season-low 28.4 percent in a loss to Washington, UH shot 36.4 percent including only 4-of-18 from the field in the second half. The Rainbow Warriors also shot a season-low 1-of-15 from three-point range.
Meanwhile the Jackets shot 56.5 percent after halftime and 50.0 percent for the game. Michael Devoe led the way with 18 points whiles Moses Wright chipped in with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
The final score was not indicative of how close the game was for more than 32 minutes. UH led for much of the first half, including 32-29 at the break after a pair of Justin Hemsley free throws and a Bernardo da Silva layup just before the halftime buzzer.
Hawaii scored the first six points of the second half to build a nine-point lead. The Jackets then used a 13-2 run to retake the lead before UH see-sawed back in front. A Raimo free throw gave UH its last lead of the game at 48-47 with 8:34 left before the Jackets out-scored the Rainbow Warriors 23-5 the rest of the way.
The Rainbow Warriors will return to the Stan Sheriff Center court on Sunday, Dec. 29 when they take on Maine in their final non-conference game before starting up Big West play. Tipoff is 5:00 p.m.