Hawaii men’s basketball: Drew Buggs’ hustle play turns tide against Pacific

Drew Buggs (right) was off to the races for a key loose ball in the final minute after Mate Colina (left) helped poke it away from Pacific's Justin Moore. / Photo by Bruce Asato, Star-Advertiser

Eddie Stansberry, who poured in a career-high-tying 26 points and put his team ahead briefly with a late four-point play, immediately volunteered this about another moment of Hawaii’s 72-67 win over Pacific to cap the Outrigger Rainbow Classic on Monday night.

“Game-winning play.”


He was referring to point guard Drew Buggs’ sprint and dive to retrieve a loose ball that Buggs and center Mate Colina collaborated to knock away from Tigers guard Justin Moore at midcourt in the final minute. Pacific was looking to tie or take the lead at the time, after Zigmars Raimo had the go-ahead score, 66-64, on a feed inside from Buggs with 45.1 seconds left.

Buggs was just barely able to remain inbounds as he pounced on the ball by the Pacific baseline, one leg swinging over the line but not touching it.

“I was stoked. I was celebrating right there in the moment, even though the game wasn’t even over. But those type of plays are the plays we live for in this program,” said Stansberry, who was then fouled by Pacific and made both (he was 8-for-8 from the line and 7-for-10 from the field) for a four-point lead with 20 seconds left, capping a 14-2 run after UH trailed by eight with 4:18 left.

Here was Buggs on the play:

There would be more drama to come. Pacific hit a 3 to get back within one with 7.2 seconds left — and then Tigers coach Damon Stoudamire called a timeout he didn’t have, resulting in two tech free throws plus two more on the regular possession when the Tigers took another foul. Stansberry and Buggs made all four to put the game away.

But everything circled back to the Buggs play, not the Tigers’ no-timeout timeout (for which the former NBA star Stoudamire took responsibility afterward).

Acting head coach Chris Gerlufsen hailed it as well as he improved to 2-1 in filling in for the ailing Eran Ganot. Gerlufsen said he and assistant John Montgomery, who heads up the defense, had a “heated conversation” in the timeout about how they should defend the Tigers on the pivotal play.

“And by the end of it, we both got on the same page and decided, if we’re going to win the game, we’re going to take a chance,” Gerlufsen said. “And we hadn’t trapped the ball screen all night, so I thought it’d be a different look for Justin Moore, who’s a really good downhill driver. And sure enough, Mate jumped out there and did a heck of a job being big and wide and got a piece of the ball. And Drew, to be honest, standing where I was on the sideline, I didn’t think he was going to be able to get to the ball before it went out of bounds. And he had the foresight to dive on it and to slide, and to not slide out of bounds, and still be able to call a timeout.

“That’s like a play you put on your season highlight film. And you might lead it off with that. That was just a big-time, winning play.”

Stansberry and Samuta Avea were named to the Rainbow Classic all-tournament team. The tournament was won by South Dakota, which beat Florida A&M 85-82 preceding UH’s game. USD forward Stanley Umude was named tournament MVP.


  1. Warrior Lifer November 12, 2019 5:44 am

    Exciting game to match the equally exciting game against South Dakota the night before. Glad they were able to pull this one out. Hope we get a chance to see Webster against Portland State on Friday if he’s healthy.

  2. iGrokSpock November 12, 2019 8:48 am

    Yup that was an uber exciting game!

  3. Aiea 7 November 12, 2019 2:15 pm

    the team has to get more out of the big men. they are not pulling their load. more games will be lost if they don’t come around. they did not look good again last night, too slow and unable to make baskets.

  4. Loca1boi November 12, 2019 5:58 pm

    Why didn’t we see G Jessiya Villa take the court at all in the Outrigger tourney? Is this staff going to redshirt him or basically waste his freshman year?

  5. Brian McInnis November 13, 2019 4:35 pm

    At this point in time I would say he’s a strong candidate to redshirt.

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