It was heading for an underwhelming night of College Summer League action at the Manoa District Park gym on Thursday night.
The first game, Flipbooks Hawaii’s 101-94 defeat of Wealth Strategy, was ragged the entire way and would have drawn boos from a harsher crowd. The second contest was a 124-78 blowout of National Fire Protection by Solar Universe that was decided about 10 minutes into the game.
Solar was unstoppable on this night. Dyrbe Enos (14 points) came off the bench and hit several 3s to help build a lead, and Brandon Spearman got in on the act with 22 points, showcasing a shooting touch not seen in previous summer league games.
But it was the unexpected shooting spree of UH team manager Nick Milan that had the crowd excited. Milan splashed a few triples through consecutively in a torrid first half and finished with 16 points. He helped salvage an otherwise forgettable night of competition.
“Bringing me back to my intramural days. I made the first one, Bobby (Nash) gave me this weird look because he knew it was a bad shot. … I just kept on shooting them, and they just kept going in,” said Milan, a Kaimuki High alum who attended Orange Coast College. He’s been Gib Arnold’s manager since Arnold got the head coaching job here.
Solar Universe has the most overall talent in the league but struggled early in the summer season. They evened their record at 4-4.
“It pretty much was (the best we’ve shot.) We had 80 at the half. I thought I had a lot of 3s (three) but Dyrbe did the same thing. Rashaun (Broadus) hit a couple, Bobby hit a couple. The whole team was lighting it up.”
So is Milan going to be able to keep it up?
“Probably not,” he said with a laugh. “To be realistic that was probably the best game I could play.”
Incoming freshman forward Isaac Fotu had another impressive game, tallying 20 points in a losing effort. His activity around the rim is sound and he usually makes the right basketball play, even if that means passing out of the post when the opportunity to pad his numbers was there. He was about the only thing National Fire Protection (3-4) had going right.
In the first game, league leader Flipbooks (7-1) prevailed despite the absence of Christian Standhardinger, who was ejected in his previous game. It was a ragged game, and the other two UH players suited up — Garrett Jefferson and Brandon Jawato for Wealth Strategy (1-7) — didn’t play particularly well. Jefferson had some calls go against him early (including a tech for hanging on the rim and slapping the backboard on a dunk), which limited his effectiveness the rest of the way.
Jawato was making his summer league debut, and he played sparingly off the bench while coming back from an ankle injury. He did hit one of his two 3-point looks, however, and looked leaner than when he redshirted last season.
It was hoped freshman guard Manroop Clair would make his debut for Flipbooks, but he’s still dealing with his own ankle troubles.
More on Saturday, when Grantco Pacific meets Solar Universe (6 p.m.) and National Fire plays Central Medical (7:30).