HONOLULU — The Hawai’i Warriors opened up their 2017-18 season with a with an 82-70 win against the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Friday’s contest was a part of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.
Senior forwards Mike Thomas and Gibson Johnson poured in 19 points a piece, with junior forward Jack Purchase also contributing 18 of his own.
The trio of forwards combined to have a staggering sixty-eight percent of the Warriors’ points in the game.
Junior guard Sheriff Drammeh was inactive in this game due to an illness. Jack Purchase started at the three for the Warriors, converting a healthy fifty-three percent from the floor.
The starting back court for Hawai’i combined for only eight points on 28% shooting from the field. Freshman guard Drew Buggs missed all five of his shots, but managed to convert one out of his two free throw attempts. Sophomore guard Leland Green also struggled from the field, only converting on two of his five attempts.
Free throw shooting was a problem for the Warriors Friday night, as they shot a measly 66.7%. The team as a whole had no problem getting to the line, as they attempted 18 more free throws than the Golden Lions. Thomas led the way for the Warriors, hitting 13-of-16 attempts from the line.
This was a memorable game for senior captain Mike Thomas, as this was his first in-game action since March 20, 2016 when Melo Trimble and the Maryland Terrapins eliminated them in the NCAA tournament game.
Hawai’i led 46-36 at the end of the first half, but head coach Eran Ganot was the least bit happy with his team’s defensive effort.
Twenty-percent shooting from downtown was all the Warriors could muster on the night, as the team only converted 4-of-20 from beyond the arc. Purchase made only two of seven attempts.
Hawai’i will take on the North Dakota Fight Hawks in the second game of the event for both teams. Sunday’s game will tip off at 10pm EST inside the Stan Sheriff Center.
North Dakota guard Geno Crandall dropped an impressive 41 points in their 83-80 win over the Troy Trojans on Friday night.
– T. Zust