FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Julian Sensley, left, and Hilo's Justin Griffin went after a loose ball during last night's exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH beats up brother
The Rainbow Warriors have little trouble in exhibition against state rival UH-Hilo
The Hawaii basketball team showed little mercy to little brother last night.
The Rainbow Warriors exploded for 63 first-half points and cruised to a 110-55 win over UH-Hilo in an exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"It's more exciting opposed to last year when we were a halfcourt team, where you can see people run and gun. I think we're definitely a more exciting team to watch than last year."
A crowd of 2,322 watched four Rainbows reach double figures by halftime and UH shot close to 58 percent from the field.
"We've got a lot of confidence, a lot of energy and we've just got to keep it at that level," UH coach Riley Wallace said.
"We're much better right now than where we ended up last year."
The Rainbows open the regular season a week from today against No. 4 Michigan State at the Sheriff Center. UH-Hilo plays at Cal State Chico on Tuesday.
UH forward Matthew Gipson led six Rainbows in double figures by hitting eight of 10 shots from the field for a team-high 18 points. Junior transfer Ahmet Gueye posted 16 points and nine rebounds, and blocked five shots in his debut in a UH uniform.
Forward Julian Sensley scored 12 of his 14 in the second half. Guard Matt Gibson scored 14 and Matt Lojeski added 12.
The Rainbows outrebounded UH-Hilo 50-26, swiped 12 steals and dished out 30 assists.
"It's more exciting opposed to last year when we were a halfcourt team, where you can see people run and gun," Sensley said. "I think we're definitely a more exciting team to watch than last year."
For UH-Hilo, ranked No. 23 in the NCAA Division II preseason poll, the loss was secondary to an injury to senior forward Joe Travis.
Travis, who redshirted last season due to a knee injury, went down with a dislocated left ankle in the first half.
"It's going to affect us for a while," UH-Hilo coach Jeff Law said. "We have guys who have heart, guys who are going to get different opportunities now, but he's one of the better players in the conference. I feel very, very badly for him.
"Hopefully, he'll be able to come back some time around Christmas."
Vulcans guard Justin Griffin led all scorers with 20 points.
UH-Hilo stayed close with the Rainbows through the first half of last year's exhibition meeting, but couldn't keep pace with a hot-shooting UH team last night.
UH's triple-Matt offense (Gipson, Gibson and Lojeski) combined for 38 points, hitting seven 3-pointers among them, before halftime.
As a team, UH was 10-for-18 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 14-for-25 in the game.
"It was their shooting, they just hit us hard early with the 3s," Law said.
"Offensively, they looked like midseason form. They hit their shot when they were there and that's all the credit to them."
The Rainbows generated points out of its defense as well as Sensley had four steals and Gueye had 10 points and four blocked shots in the first 20 minutes.
The Rainbows asserted control about 3 minutes into the game with a 19-1 run to take a 26-7 lead. Gipson, Lojeski and Bobby Nash hit consecutive 3-pointers during the run, which ended with two steals leading to fast-break layups.
UH's first-half point total was more than the Rainbows scored in seven games last season.
The margin allowed Wallace to give the entire team significant playing time. All 12 UH players who suited up played at least 7 minutes and 10 got into the scoring column.