Rainbow Warriors pull away to beat Sharks in season opener

The Maui News

James Jean-Marie had 21 points and 11 rebounds off the bench as the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team began its season with an 83-50 victory over Hawaii Pacific on Friday night at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Mate Colina scored a career-high 17 points and Casdon Jardine added 11 points for the Rainbow Warriors, who saw most of their nonconference schedule canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the college basketball season officially began Nov. 25.

UH led by just five points after the first half but quickly took control after the break, going on a 14-4 run in the first five minutes of the second half. They poured it on from there, thanks in large part to Jean-Marie — the senior center/forward, a transfer from San Diego, scored 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the half.

The Rainbow Warriors shot 47.6 percent (30 of 63) from the field and finished 6 of 20 from 3-point range after going 0 for 9 in the first half from 3. David Rowlands led HPU with 12 points.

The Division II Sharks kept it close in the first half as both teams struggled offensively early on. Colina’s layup with 2:43 left tied it at 23, and Hawaii was able to pull away for a 30-25 halftime lead.

The Rainbow Warriors next begin Big West Conference play by hosting Cal Poly for a pair of games Dec. 27-28 at the SSC.