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Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
Associated Press

No. 3 Oklahoma stays unbeaten with 84-81 win over Hawaii

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HONOLULU (AP) Buddy Hield had 27 points and nine rebounds as No. 3 Oklahoma remained unbeaten, escaping with an 84-81 victory over Hawaii in a Diamond Head Classic semifinal on Wednesday night.

The Sooners (10-0) got a career-high 17 points from Khadeem Lattin and 14 from Isaiah Cousins.

Hield was 7 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and he made all six of his free throw attempts. He had 18 points at halftime.

Roderick Bobbitt scored a career-high 32 points and had six assists for the Rainbow Warriors (8-2), who had their four-game winning streak snapped. It was their first loss on their home court this season.

Hawaii had a chance to tie it at the buzzer, but Bobbitt’s desperation 3-pointer was no good.

Oklahoma, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half, was up 41-40 at halftime.

There were six ties and 12 lead changes in the game.

The game was tied at 75 on a slicing layup by Hawaii’s Isaac Fleming with 4:22 remaining, but the Sooners took the lead for good on two free throws by Hield with 1:42 to play.

Bobbitt drew a foul attempting a 3-pointer and made his first two attempts to get Hawaii within 83-81 with 4 seconds to play. He missed the third free throw intentionally and Lattin grabbed the rebound for Oklahoma.

Lattin made the first of two free throws before Hawaii got the ball back with 1.2 seconds to play.

Oklahoma got off to a hot start as Hield scored 16 points in the first 9 minutes. Akolda Manyang’s banker with 10:42 left in the half gave the Sooners a 25-9 lead, but the Rainbow Warriors went on an 8-1 run to take the lead at 27-26.

Hawaii scored 18 points off 12 Oklahoma turnovers and held the edge in bench points, 23-10.

Both teams were 24 of 33 from the free throw line.

Oklahoma leads the all-time series against Hawaii 2-1.


Oklahoma: It was the 28th time in Hield’s career that he eclipsed the 20-point mark. He had a career-high 33 points against Creighton on Dec. 19, and 25 against Washington State on Tuesday.

Hawaii: It was the highest-ranked opponent for the Rainbow Warriors since beating No. 2 Kansas in the 1997 Rainbow Classic. It is their best start to a season since winning their first eight games in 2004.


Oklahoma will play Harvard for the tournament title Friday.

Hawaii will meet Auburn in the third-place game Friday.

VIDEO: Hawai’i guard Quincy Smith completes dunk with one shoe

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Wednesday night Hawai’i moved to 5-1 on the season with a comfortable 75-47 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, using a balanced scoring effort to take care of the Golden Lions. And as one would expect from such a beating there were highlights for the home team, most notably guard Quincy Smith’s first half drive to the basket.

After he and Roderick Bobbitt combined to force a turnover at mid-court, Smith took off towards the basket focused on throwing down a two-handed dunk. Only one problem: Smith’s right shoe fell off as he jumped to complete the play. So instead of a dunk with some kind of power it was more of a fingertip deal for Smith, but I’m willing to give him credit for the dunk.

Dunking barefoot is pretty tough, much less doing so while losing one of your shoes in the midst of jumping.

Former Hawai’i coach to receive $700K in settlement

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Just prior to the start of the 2014-15 season Hawai’i parted ways with head coach Gib Arnold, with an NCAA investigation into major rules violations sparking the decision. Arnold took the school to court for the remaining money on his contract, and on Thursday the school announced that the legal battle has reached its conclusion.

The University of Hawai’i Board of Regents approved a $700,000 settlement, with Arnold receiving $500,000 and his attorney $200,000. The first payment will be made November 30, with the attorney receiving his full payment and Arnold getting $100,000.

Arnold’s portion of the settlement will be completed with payments of $200,000 on January 15, 2016 and January 15, 2017.

“It’s time for the university to move past this chapter in the history of UH men’s basketball,” UH Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said in a release. “It is the best thing for UH and it is the best thing for the program. Now we can turn our full focus to the future and the players and coaches, as they prepare for the upcoming season.”

The school self-reported violations that were traced back to 2013, with Arnold and then-assistant coach Brandyn Akana being relieved of their duties and star forward Isaac Fotu leaving the program around the same time.The school announced its self-imposed sanctions back in mid-May. The NCAA has yet to offer a final ruling on the investigation.

Benjy Taylor took over as interim head coach as a result, leading the Rainbow Warriors to the Big West tournament final where they lost to UC Irvine. This spring Hawai’i hired former Saint Mary’s assistant Eran Ganot as the program’s new head coach.

Mountain West, Pac-12 expand officiating alliance to include three other conferences

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When the Mountain West and Pac-12 announced last year that they would enter into an officiating alliance, one of the goals was to improve uniformity between the leagues when it came to how games were called. Tuesday the leagues announced that they’ve taken another step in this direction when it comes to basketball in the western United States, with the Big West, WAC and WCC joining the alliance.

As a result of this move, five of the six conferences in which most of (if not all) of their members are located in the western United States are part of this alliance with the Big Sky being the lone exception. According to the release, Bobby Dibler will preside over the alliance as the officiating coordinator.

A major focus of the expanded alliance will be training. Prior to the season, Dibler and staff will host a training clinic for all roster officials to review mechanics, game situations, rules knowledge and other key factors to ensure they are among the best trained in the country. Officials from all five of the conferences will participate, furthering the impact of the collaboration on officiating in the western United States.

With the changes occurring within college basketball, including the move to a 30-second shot clock and increased calls to do a better job of allowing freedom of movement, expanding the alliance isn’t a bad idea at all. Of course this hinges on officials not only being consistent with calls but sticking to it the new initiatives throughout the year.

A couple years ago when there was a move to improve freedom of movement, complaints about the length of games eventually led to a return to things being let go by the time conference play rolled around. There will be complaints, especially in games deemed to be “whistle-fests,” but that’s something people will have to deal with as officials and the rules committee look to do things that will improve offensive production.

North Carolina to play game at Hawaii during 2016-17 season

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For some programs participating in the Maui Invitational there’s a desire to play a game on the way out to the islands in order to avoid too much inactivity before the start of the tournament. That will be the case for North Carolina, which is one of the eight teams booked for the 2016 edition of the event.

Thursday it was announced that the Tar Heels will play a road game at Hawaii November 16, 2016, which will mark the second time in a three-year period that the Rainbow Warriors get to play an ACC team headed out to Maui.

Last season Hawaii knocked off Pittsburgh in a game played in Wailuku, Maui. However the meeting with the Tar Heels will be a true home game for new head coach Eran Ganot, with the contest scheduled for the Stan Sheriff Center.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and honor to compete with one of the premier programs in all of college basketball,” Ganot said in the release. “Can’t say enough about the efforts of so many to make this happen as its not too often you can schedule an opponent of this caliber on your homecourt.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring North Carolina and their terrific, Hall of Fame Coach, Roy Williams, to the Stan Sheriff Center in front of our wonderful fans!”

North Carolina will be part of what should be a very good Maui Invitational field in 2016. Joining the Tar Heels and host Chaminade are Connecticut, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

UC Davis, head coach Jim Les agree to contract extension through 2021

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The 2014-15 season was the most successful for UC Davis at the Division I level, with head coach Jim Les leading the Aggies to 25 wins, a Big West regular season title and a berth in the Postseason NIT. Friday the school announced that Les has been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2020-21 campaign.

“UC Davis has been a special place for me and my family and I am excited to call it home for the future,” Les said in the release. “I am grateful for the support of Chancellor [Linda P.B.] Katehi, [interim athletic director] Teresa Gould, our administration, and the Davis community. Our job now is to continue to work to build a standard of excellence in our basketball program that matches the excellence of our University.”

Last year’s team was led by Big West Player of the Year Corey Hawkins, who is out of eligibility, and in total the Aggies will have to account for the loss of three of their top four scorers. In addition to Hawkins, UC Davis also loses guard Tyler Les (the head coach’s son) and forward Josh Ritchart, with rising senior forward Josh Fox (9.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg) being their leading returning scorer.

UC Davis’ 25-win season came on the heels of a 9-22 finish to the 2013-14 campaign, one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball. UC Davis has now won at least 20 games in a season nine times, with current UCSB head coach Bob Williams responsible for five of those (and a Division II national title in 1998).