Hawaii shoots for its third Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic title in five years late Monday night (and early Tuesday morning) against High Point University.
The other HPU (UH beat Hawaii Pacific University in a preseason exhibition) is the latest opponent in the annual ESPN College Hoops Tip-off Marathon, for which UH has been the late-night link at the Stan Sheriff Center for all seven years of the event’s existence.
UH is 4-2 in those games. Here’s the list.
>> 2008: Hawaii 67, Idaho State 63, OT
>> 2009: Northern Colorado 81, Hawaii 75
>> 2010: Hawaii 65, Central Michigan 62
>> 2011: Hawaii 86, Cal State Northridge 67
>> 2012: Hawaii 73, Houston Baptist 60
>> 2013: New Mexico State 95, Hawaii 88
Can UH make it 3-0 to begin Benjy Taylor‘s tenure as coach? Well, High Point could provide a stiff test. Like UH, the Panthers also defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Cal State Bakersfield over the first two days of the tournament.
HPU was without reigning Big South Player of the Year John Brown in Friday’s wild 4OT win over Bakersfield for team reasons, but Brown returned in Saturday’s 12-point win over Pine Bluff with 19 points. He’ll be a challenging frontcourt presence to overcome. Guard Devante Wallace was lights out against Bakersfield, shooting 7-for-11 on 3s en route to 32 points — he’ll also have to be respected.
While UH has gotten solid production so far from Roderick Bobbitt, Negus Webster-Chan and Aaron Valdes, it will need Garrett Nevels to steady his shooting. Mike Thomas and Isaac Fleming haven’t shot it well yet, and Quincy Smith has struggled with turnovers. Overall, though, the Rainbow Warriors have stepped up when it’s counted in the second half.
There’s also a chance Sammis Reyes could see his first official game action tonight.
Tonight’s ESPN2-televised game tips at 11:59 p.m. It should be another typically rowdy crowd in the late-night general admission setting. Students will be allowed to enter the arena 15 minutes before everyone else, so they’ll be taking some of the prime seating.
The midnight game never has the usual numbers from the crowd, but it definitely has the enthusiasm.
The game promotion is “blackout night.” The first 700 students receive black glow-in-the-dark T-shirts. The student with the best sign (with or without the ESPN acronym) receives an iPad prize.