Eddie Stansberry shot the shot. He proved he could talk the talk, too.
Perhaps inspired by the return of chatterbox teammate Sheriff Drammeh, the usually mild-mannered Stansberry exchanged some good-natured smack talk with Alabama A&M players late in Hawaii’s 71-63 win over the Bulldogs to close out nonconference play with a 9-5 record.
The junior college transfer had career highs of 26 points and six 3-pointers. In the final minutes, he and Jack Purchase combined to squelch a 9-0 AAMU run with the biggest play of the night.
Stansberry missed a corner 3, but Purchase snared the rebound as he was falling out of bounds and flipped it to Stansberry, who drove to the cup for the three-point play.
He carried on a conversation with the Bulldogs all the way down the court.
Prior to AAMU’s run to get within 63-61, Drammeh — who hadn’t played in UH’s final two games of the Diamond Head Classic, and had only played three minutes in the DHC opener in his first game back from a team suspension — was in rare form, hitting a couple of 3s, taking a charge, and generally letting everyone know he was out there.
Sheriff Drammeh brings back the dab and point.
— Hawaii Warrior World (@hawaiiwworld) December 30, 2018
“I think we were all fired up. It’s part of the game,” Stansberry said. “I know we may see it a lot coming from Sheriff or whatnot, he’s really vocal. You get in those moments where it’s really competitive, and you’re chirping back and forth. But it’s all part of the game. The biggest thing is we stay focused, engage, and get back to our principles as we’re doing that. But yeah, that definitely can happen.”
Added Zigmars Raimo, “Reef, even if he’s not on the court, he’s really supporting on the bench.”
It was a good game for Stansberry to go off. Thanks to him, UH matched its season high of 11 3-pointers, helping offset a season-high 18 turnovers (five were by Stansberry).
Stansberry’s final shooting line: 9-for-17 from the field, 6-for-12 from 3, 2-for-2 at the line. His previous bests were 19 points and five 3s.
He had a crack at seven on a few occasions. With that, he would’ve cracked the UH top-10 for a single game. Something tells us he might be in that neighborhood again before his UH career is done.
A moment of silence was held pregame for the late Hawaii Pacific guard Emil Isovic, who died Wednesday night, more than a week after going unconscious during a game in the D2 Hoops Power Invitational.
Afterward, UH coach Eran Ganot said: “This is a difficult time. I think we talk as much, guys who know our program, about perspective. Life. Being in a position to support others. The bigger picture. We’ve got tremendous guys. I think one, it’s them, they’re well raised, and I think we also do a good job of talking about it. It’s a very tragic situation. We had been praying once we heard. This is a tight community. You heard me praise the basketball programs here, the athletic programs here, the community. This is something that affected not just our basketball community and our athletics community, but our community here in Hawaii. And, you know, we have (director of operations) Jesse Nakanishi, who recruited him and coached him. We prayed right when we heard as a team, and continue to. Now we gotta pray for his family as they continue to go through this difficult time. All you can do is continue to be there and support. Hopefully we’ve raised some money. I know there’s been a lot of money raised for the family as they go through this (at hpusharks.com). We need to step up and do that. This is one of our own. And Sheriff and Jesse went earlier and visited him in the hospital. Obviously he’s from Sweden. Sheriff could talk with his family. It’s a very difficult situation and an opportunity for people to come together, as we continue to send our best wishes and thoughts for his family.”
A couple more shots from the game: