‘Bows survive a Vulcan scare

Point guard Drew Buggs and Hawaii were in for a fight against Larry Bush and Hawaii Hilo on Saturday night. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

The collective vibe of those leaving the Stan Sheriff Center: relief and concern. Maybe more of the latter than the former.

The final from Saturday night: Hawaii 82, Hawaii Hilo 75.

It was, by far, the closest a UH-UHH game came at the Sheriff. Never had the Division II Vulcans played the Rainbows within single digits in 11 official all-time meetings. This was a program UH pasted by 51 points five years ago.

For a victory, it was a dim postgame press conference. UH (5-4), while careful to credit the Vulcans and coach GE Coleman (3-3) for their effort, pointed the finger at itself as much or more.

“I think each one of us gotta take a look in the mirror so we can make that adjustment so we can come out and play with that fire that we need to have,” point guard Drew Buggs said. Foward Jack Purchase echoed his sentiments.

UHH matched its big brother, or came darn close, in shooting (54.7 percent to 52.8), and maybe the most glaring stat, points in the paint, which was basically a wash (32-30). That’s a stat a much bigger team like Manoa should own, and has in this series just about every time in the past.

If it weren’t for Eddie Stansberry catching fire in the second half (17 of his 19 points, all of his five 3-pointers), and a spate of injuries to key players for the Vulcans … I mean, shoot. It could’ve been a real stunner, and UH’s first loss to a non-Division I local team since 1985. For contrast, check out how UH has dispatched UHH traditionally by year.

Eddie Stansberry hit all of his five 3s in the second half to match his season highs in points (19) and triples. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

“We were fortunate. We did a really good job offensively. But they had us everywhere else,” UH coach Eran Ganot said.

“Our offense probably saved us. But we have work to do. I’m careful with those words because that cannot be a disservice to what (Hilo) did today and what they’re about.”

The Vulcans got to the rim easily and repeatedly, particularly Kalaheo graduate Kupaa Harrison. Harrison was a force, with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Ganot benched guard Sheriff Drammeh, typically one of the team’s best perimeter defenders, for the entire second half. He lamented the team’s sloppy “point of attack” defense that allowed the Vulcans to drive all the way to the cup.

“It’s the worst we’ve been defensively,” Ganot said. “Not even close.”

Brocke Stepteau faced off with Hilo’s Jordan Graves at midcourt. / Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell, Star-Advertiser

Buggs scored 16 points with seven assists but once again had to deal with plenty of fullcourt pressure that teams are now regularly throwing at UH to take it even deeper than usual into the shot clock.

Stansberry hit 3s on two occasions when Hilo drew to within two points in the second half. UH pushed it to 60-50, then 71-58, but Hilo kept on coming.

“There were times when (Eddie) saved us at some points, because they were on a run, came in and hit some big shots,” said Purchase, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. “Credit to them.”

Zigmars Raimo scored all of his 13 points in the first half as he was limited by foul trouble in the second. Guard Brocke Stepteau scored 11, shooting 3-for-5 on 3s.

Ganot said guard Leland Green, who was not present, was “away, dealing with a personal matter.”

Up next is Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 16. UH has about a week to prepare — let’s see if they make full use of it and come out with more fire than they showed Saturday night.


Here’s an updated list of schools UH is unbeaten against all-time (with at least one meeting). The year of the last meeting in parentheses.

Hawaii Hilo (2018)

Alaska-Fairbanks (1977)

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2017)

Abilene Christian (1979)
Montana State (2015)

Northwestern State (2009)
Prairie View A&M (2017)
Saint Louis (2005)

BYU-Hawaii (1982)
Chicago State (2010)
Coastal Carolina (2015)
Colorado (2014)
Grambling (1975)
Houston Baptist (2012)
Howard (2017)
Mississippi Valley State (2015)
Northern Arizona (2018)
South Carolina State (2011)
Western Illinois (1999)

Alcorn State (2007)
Coppin State (2007)
Delaware State (2016)
Florida Atlantic (2016)
Fordham (1992)
George Washington (2008)
Indiana State (1988)
Mercer (2001)
Michigan State (2005)
Nicholls State (2015)
Norfolk State (2013)
North Carolina A&T (2011)
Northern Iowa (2015)
Oral Roberts (2004)
Tennessee-Martin (2006)
Texas Southern (2003)
Trinity (Texas) (1971)
UC San Diego (1973)
Willamette (1953)
William & Mary (1999)

Adams State (2017)
Alabama State (1996)
Alaska-Anchorage (1989)
Alaska-Methodist (1968)
Arkansas-Little Rock (2002)
Army (1993)
Ball State (1996)
Boston University (1994)
Butler (2002)
Cal State Bakersfield (2014)
Central Arkansas (2010)
Central Michigan (2010)
Cincinnati (1994)
College of Charleston (2009)
College of the Ozarks (1980)
Connecticut (1972)
Cornell (1984)
Davidson (2017)
East Carolina (2014)
East Tennessee State (2012)
Elon (1981)
Emporia State (Kan.) (1948-49)
Furman (1989)
Hardin-Simmons (1983)
Hofstra (2006)
Holy Cross (1983)
Humboldt State (2018)
Iowa State (2008)
IUPUI (2003)
John Carroll (Ohio) (1950)
LIU-Brooklyn (1997)
Louisiana-Monroe (1985)
LSU (1982)
Loyola (Maryland) (1987)
Manhattan (2000)
Marist (2014)
Maryland-Eastern Shore (2012)
Missouri-Kansas City (1993)
Missouri State (1990)
Navy (1991)
New York State University (1970)
Northwest Missouri State (1981)
Ohio State (1967)
Old Dominion (1994)
Omaha (2014)
Seattle Pacific (1960)
South Carolina (1981)
Southeastern Louisiana (2000)
Southern (2014)
Southern Miss (2016)
Southern Oregon (1948)
Southern Utah (2009)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2002)
Texas State (2016)
Toledo (1986)
Tulane (1997)
Utah Valley (2017)
Virginia Military Institute (1999)
Wagner (1990)
Western Michigan (2013)
Whitworth (1954)


  1. cappie the dog December 9, 2018 5:15 am

    That was an incidental nice gesture by Stansberry, missing those two free throws towards the end of the game. It allowed UH-Hilo’s Kupa’a Harrison to be the game’s high scorer.

    I was half-hoping that Harrison would nail the deep three which would have cut the Vulcans’ deficit to three.

    Win or lose, in terms of the RPI, this game is an exhibition anyway.

    But I’m glad Hawaii won.

  2. cappie the dog December 9, 2018 5:17 am


    NYU played basketball.

    When I think of NYU, I think film school.

  3. cappie the dog December 9, 2018 5:28 am

    C’mon, Leland Green.

    Nobody wants to see you leave.

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