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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.

TIP-INS

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.

UP NEXT

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.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs time for the university to move past this chapter in the history of UH men‚Äôs basketball,‚ÄĚ UH Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman said in a release. ‚ÄúIt 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.‚ÄĚ

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.

Coaching Changes: Who’s set for success, failure

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The college basketball coaching carousel was in full effect last spring, as 40 head coaching positions changed hands. Of those 40 jobs, 12 major high major programs will enter this season with a new man in charge while six more teams that would be classified as mid-major plus had turnover in leadership.

Here are the coaches in the best position to succeed immediately, and those that will likely need some time before they see the kind of success they’re used to:

COACHES BEST SET UP FOR IMMEDIATE SUCCESS

  1. Steve Prohm, Iowa State: With Fred Hoiberg making the move to the NBA, someone was bound to land a job coaching a team with the talent needed to play deep into the NCAA tournament. Prohm was the pick for Iowa State after a successful run at Murray State, and with players such as Monte Morris, Georges Niang and Jameel McKay, his first season in Ames can be a special one.
  2. Will Wade, VCU: Yes, Wade has some personnel losses to account as the former Shaka Smart assistant¬†returns to VCU; most notably, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham have graduated. The cupboard isn’t bare either, however, as Melvin Johnson is back for his senior year, as are JeQuan Lewis and Mo-Alie Cox. Look for the Rams to once again be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race. (And yes, I know my opinion differs from some of my colleagues.)
  3. Tim Duryea, Utah State: Duryea’s definitely familiar with the USU roster, as he served as the now-retired Stew Morrill’s assistant for 14 seasons. And he’s got a good roster to work with, with all five starters returning led by forwards Jalen Moore and David Collette. Utah State exceeded expectations by finishing fourth in the Mountain West a season ago; they’ll be expected to contend this time around and have the pieces to do just that.
  4. Mike White, Florida: Like Prohm, White arrives at his new gig after experiencing a lot of success at his last stop.¬†But unlike Prohm he’s taking over for a coach in Billy Donovan took Florida’s program to heights never before reached in the history of the program. There’s some talent to work with, especially if he can get Kasey Hill going, and White also managed to hold onto most of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class.
  5. Ben Howland, Mississippi State: While Howland’s resume surpasses that of any other coach on this list, and he’ll have Malik Newman at his disposal, that doesn’t overtake the fact that there’s a lot to be done with a program that struggled mightily in the three seasons prior. Howland put together a good recruiting class led by Newman, but if there’s a concern it’s the health of his front court (that wasn’t all too deep to begin with).
  6. Matt McCall, Chattanooga: McCall’s first head coaching gig at the Division I level has the potential to be a very successful one, thanks to the talent due back on campus. Four starters, including guard Casey Jones and forward Justin Tuoyo, return from a team that won 22 games and finished 15-3 in SoCon play.
  7. Eran Ganot, Hawai’i: Last season began with tumult for Hawai’i, but interim head coach Benjy Taylor was able to lead the Rainbow Warriors to 22 wins and a run to the Big West tournament final. Now former Saint Mary’s assistant Eran Ganot takes over an experienced group that returns three starters (seven who started at least two games) led by Big West Defensive Player of the Year Roderick Bobbitt.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

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NEW HEAD COACHES WHO NEED SOME TIME

  1. Shaka Smart, Texas:¬†A key¬†question for some is how Smart’s pressure system will mesh with bigs who are best equipped to play in the half court. However the biggest issue in Smart’s first season at the helm in Austin is the strength of the Big 12, with perennial favorite Kansas leading what should be a deep race. There’s still talent, enough to make the tournament, but contending in the Big 12 may take a little time.
  2. Rick Barnes, Tennessee: Barnes has relocated to Knoxville, where he’ll aim to rejuvenate a program that dealt with the Donnie Tyndall investigation (and ultimately, firing) for much of last season. Three starters return but the one true difference-maker, Josh Richardson, isn’t among those players. Add in a lack of size in the post, and this could be a difficult season for Barnes in an SEC that will be improved.
  3. Avery Johnson, Alabama: Johnson and his staff have made some waves recruiting-wise, most notably reeling in Terrance Ferguson, and that certainly bodes well for the future. However, when it comes to this season he inherits a roster that lost its top three scorers from a season ago. That could prove difficult to overcome in a league that’s improved from last season.
  4. Chris Mullin, St. John’s: To say that Mullin and his staff were left with a bare cupboard would be an understatement. Two of the remaining players (Chris Obekpa and Rysheed Jordan) didn’t exactly mesh with the new staff’s plans, so they moved on. The work done by Mullin and assistants Barry Rohrssen and Matt Abdelmassih to fill out the roster will help St. John’s in the long run, but this season could be a difficult one.
  5. Brian Wardle, Bradley: Wardle’s move from Green Bay to Peoria, Illinois is a big one for a Bradley program that struggled in a big way under Geno Ford. Given Wardle’s accomplishments he’s got a good chance of turning things around. But it’s going to take some time to do so, especially with just one starter from last season’s nin win team back on campus. There was a lot of turnover on the roster, so the Braves will take their lumps as a result.
  6. Bobby Hurley, Arizona State: Hurley put together two successful seasons at Buffalo before making the move west, and he inherits a roster doesn’t lack for¬†experience. In a similar situation at Buffalo in 2013-14, he led the Bulls to 19 wins and had the MAC Player of the Year in Javon McCrea. The two¬†issues this time around: while the Pac-12 may not have a dominant team as it did a season ago (Arizona) it is deeper, and the Sun Devils will have to navigate a tough non-conference slate as well.
  7. Dave Leitao, DePaul: Since Leitao’s first run at DePaul came to an end in 2005, the Blue Demons have struggled mightily. Now he returns to the Windy City, and while there is some talent (Billy Garrett Jr. being one option) there’s a long way to go when it comes to¬†making a move up the Big East standings and being a true factor in the conference.

Hawaii lands Auburn transfer Jack Purchase

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Jack Purchase, the native of Australia, has transferred to Hawaii, the university announced on Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-9 forward becomes the third addition for first-year head coach Eran Ganot since taking over the program in April. Purchase will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“We are fired up to welcome Jack to the Rainbow Warrior basketball family,” Ganot said in a statement. “Jack is well regarded for his high skill set and tremendous basketball IQ, particularly at his size.¬†He and his terrific family are a great fit for our program, this university, and the islands. It’s no secret that Australia is a place we would like to target and for Jack to start us off there is a real shot in the arm.¬†He comes from the very highly respected Melbourne Tigers program, where his father, Nigel, played professionally.”

Purchase was recruited by former Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. In his lone season at Auburn, Purchase played in a limited role, appearing in only seven games for new head coach Bruce Pearl. He decided to transfer in late May.

Last summer, Purchase played in the FIBA U17 World Championships for an Australian team that won the silver medal.

He joins junior college point guard Bryce Canda and former Arizona State Sai Tummala as newest additions to the Hawaii program.

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.