Maui Sports

UH Beats A&T at War Memorial Gym

December 19, 2011, 2:54 PM HST
* Updated December 20, 3:43 PM
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By Fred Guzman

The University of Hawaii men’s basketball team celebrated its second visit to the Valley Isle in as many years by defeating North Carolina A&T 65-57 before an enthusiastic crowd of 1,412 at War Memorial Gymnasium last night.

Freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes scored a game-high 19 points and junior center Vander Joaquim had 16 points and seven rebounds as the Rainbows capped a busy weekend that included wins over UH-Hilo in Kailua-Kona on Friday and in Wailuku on Sunday.

The victories improved Hawaii’s season mark to 5-4.  UH played – and beat – Chicago State at the Lahaina Civic Center last year.

UH coach Gib Arnold’s team has to clean up its ball-handling act after committing 22 turnovers against A&T as it prepares for the upcoming Diamond Head Classic against much tougher competition.  Hilo is a D-II school; A&T is 4-8.

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Hawaii trailed Hilo by 11 midway through the first half and was still down by two at intermission on Friday.  But the Bows promptly went on a 15-2 run to open the second half en route to a 79-66 win to overcome 22 turnovers.

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The 5-foot-10 Stokes scored a career-high 21 while Joaquim added 19 points and 17 rebounds in the win over Hilo.

The Diamond Head Classic tips off on Thursday with a morning session featuring UTEP (3-5) versus Clemson (5-4) at 9:30 and Kansas State (7-1) versus Southern Illinois (2-5) at 11:30.  In evening session, Long Beach State (4-5) faces Xavier (8-1) at 6 o’clock followed by Hawaii (5-4) versus Auburn (6-1) at 8.

Semifinal round games are set for Friday, but there will be a layoff on Christmas Eve, before the final round of games are played on Christmas Day.

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