WSU falls to Hawaii 62-51 in semis of Diamond Head Classic

Dec 23, 2022, 11:57 PM | Updated: Dec 24, 2022, 12:00 am
WSU Hawaii...
Hawaii's Noel Coleman goes for a layup over WSU's Jabe Mullins on Dec. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
(AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

HONOLULU (AP) — Samuta Avea scored 19 points and tournament host Hawaii advanced to the final of the Diamond Head Classic for the first time with a 62-51 victory over WSU on Friday night.

Hawaii 62, WSU 51: Box score

Hawaii, which has hosted the event 11 times since 2009, will play SMU in the championship game on Sunday. The Classic wasn’t played in 2019 because of COVID-19 and COVID also forced the cancellation of last year’s final between Stanford and Vanderbilt.

Avea made 8 of 14 shots with two 3-pointers for the Rainbow Warriors (8-3). Jovon McClanahan finished with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, adding six rebounds and four assists. Noel Coleman scored 13.

TJ Bamba led the Cougars (5-7) with 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting.

McClanahan scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting to guide Hawaii to a 24-23 lead at halftime.

Bamba made a layup to tie the score at 35, but Avea had the first and last basket in an 8-0 run and Hawaii grabbed a 43-35 lead with 9:20 remaining.

Dylan Darling’s layup ended a scoreless span of 4:38 for the Cougars and Bamba’s layup cut their deficit to six at the 6:45 mark. Avea hit a 3-pointer, Coleman had a three-point play and Hawaii took its first double-digit lead — 51-40 — with 3:55 to go.

WSU, which averages a Pac-12-best 9.2 from 3-point range, made only 3 of 13 against the Rainbow Warriors. The Cougars finished with two assists on 18 baskets. They shot 30.5% overall.

The two schools played each other for the first time since 1991. WSU leads the series 5-2.

WSU will play Utah State in the consolation final on Sunday.

Thursday: Mullins’ late 3 gets WSU over George Washington 66-64


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