HONOLULU -- Hawai'i senior Christian Standhardinger made a rainbow baseline jumper over the outstretched hand of Brad Waldow with just 1.4 seconds left to give the Rainbow Warriors a 76-74 victory over Saint Mary's at the Stan Sheriff Center
The loss dropped Saint Mary's to 9-2 on the season and puts the Gaels into the seventh-place game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day. SMC will play George Mason at 10:30 a.m. (Pacific). The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. Hawaii improved to 8-3 on the season and will play Oregon State in the fifth-place game.
Waldow led four Gaels in double-figures with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. He went 8-for-10 from the field and blocked three shots. James Walker III scored 16 points to go with seven rebounds and two steals, while Beau Levesque added 14 points, despite playing most of the second half in foul trouble. Kerry Carter scored 12 points.
Standhardinger led the Rainbow Warriors with a game-high 22 points, largely attributed to 14-of-17 shooting from the free throw line. As a team, Hawai'i went 22-of-29 from the line. Saint Mary's connected on 12 of 17 free throws in the game.
Hawaii led by as many as nine points early in the second half, but the Gaels kept clawing back to keep the game close. The score was tied 11 times and the lead changed hands on five occasions.
The home team led by five points with 3:23 left before Carter nailed a 3-pointer to bring the Gaels to within two points at 70-68 with 2:58 remaining. Standhardinger, who scored six of Hawai'i's last nine points, hit a jumper to put UH back up four. Then, a Walker free throw and a Levesque 3-pointer with 1:29 left tied the game at 72-72.
Isaac Fotu scored on a jumper in the lane to put UH up 74-72 before Levesque drove to the basket to tie the game with :31 seconds remaining. After a timeout by UH with :21 seconds left, the Rainbow Warriors worked the ball to the left side of the court where Standhardinger lofted a high, arcing shot over Waldow for the game-winner.
The Gaels opened the game by connecting on their first four shots of the game, including a pair of 3-point field goals by Carter and Walker, to jump out to an early 10-6 lead.
Hawai’i took its first lead of the game at 11-10 when Spearman connected on a 3-pointer to cap a quick 5-0 spurt with 15:08 on the clock. The Rainbow Warriors outscored the Gaels 15-6 over seven minutes to go ahead 21-16, their largest lead of the half.
A pair of free throws by Garrett Jackson and a 3-pointer by Walker tied the game at 21-apiece two minutes later. With 9:20 left in the half, UH’s Davis Rozitis picked-up his third personal foul and Jackson tied the game again with two more free throws.
UH maintained a slim lead throughout the rest of the half until two free throws by Holt gave the Gaels a 39-38 lead with 1:48 left. But, a 15-foot baseline jumper by Standhardinger and a 3-pointer by Aaron Valdes put Hawai’i up by four points at halftime.
Saint Mary’s returns to the Bay Area to open West Coast Conference play on Monday, December 30 at the University of the Pacific. Visit SMCGaels.com for ticket information to all SMC basketball games. Special team, group and WCC games packages for all Gaels home games are on sale.