UH holds off North Dakota

HONOLULU (AP) — Mike Thomas scored a career-high 29 points, on 12-of-16 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team hold on for an 81-78 win over North Dakota on Sunday in the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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 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 and eventually closed to within 79-78 with 32 seconds remaining, but UH was able to close it out from the free-throw line.

Crandall finished with 21 points, Marlon Stewart scored 18 and Conner Avant added 14 points and seven rebounds for North Dakota.

The Rainbow Warriors conclude the tournament today against Troy.