HONOLULU — Mike Thomas scored a career-high 29 points, on 12-of-16 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Hawaii hold on for an 81-78 win over North Dakota on Sunday night in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.
Leland Green had 18 points and Brocke Stepteau scored 10 for Hawaii (2-0).
Thomas had a layup and three dunks during a 14-4 run to open the game, and his two free throws gave the Rainbow Warriors, who never trailed, their biggest lead, 34-12, with six minutes left in the first half. Geno Crandall hit three 3-pointers in the final five-plus minutes of the first half to pull North Dakota (1-1) within 15 points at the break.
The Fighting Hawks scored 15 of the first 19 second-half points to make it 50-46, but made just 1 of 8 from the field over a nine-minute span as Hawaii pushed its lead back into double figures. Marlon Stewart scored six points, and Crandall added five, in the waning minutes to help North Dakota close the gap to 79-78 with 32 seconds remaining. After Stepteau made 1 of 2 from the free throw line 12 seconds later, Jafar Kinsey missed a clean look from 3-point range, Gibson Johnson grabbed the rebound for Hawaii and hit 1 of 2 foul shots to cap the scoring with 1.5 seconds to play.
Crandall finished with 21 points, Stewart scored 18 and Conner Avant added 14 points and seven rebounds for North Dakota.
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