Montana State turned the ball over four times in the first five minutes, Hawaii pushed the ball in transition relentlessly early and the Rainbow Warriors turned a 26-point lead into an 87-76 cruise control victory on Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
Montana State turned the ball over 21 times all told as Hawaii turned up the pressure with a full court press for most of the game. Senior point guard Marcus Colbert and junior Nahjee Matlock, Colbert’s backup, combined for 10 turnovers as MSU fell behind 48-27 in the first half.
Hawaii’s lead swelled to 26 four minutes into the second half before Montana State battled back.
Hawaii senior point guard Roderick Bobbitt led the fast-paced attack with five steals and 14 assists as the hosts notched 21 dimes on 32 made field goals. Bobbitt added 10 points as Hawaii put four scorers in double figures. Aaron Valdes missed all five of hits 3-point attempts yet still led all scorers with 18 points to go with nine rebounds. Sai Tummala scored 17 points off the bench and Stefan Jankovic posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Tummala hit 5-of-6 3-pointers. Hawaii made just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc otherwise.
Bobcat freshman Tyler Hall hit the first jump shot attempt of his career early on and converted 5-of-11 in scoring a team-high 15 points overall but he was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arce and turned the ball over twice in 35 minutes of action. Sophomore Zach Green converted a four-point play in the first half and hit two 3-pointers overall in scoring 15 points. Colbert finished with 11 points and four assists and lost a tooth or two. Late in the game, Bobbitt and Colbert scrambled for a loose ball. Bobbitt landed on the back of Colbert’s head, smashing the Bobcat point guard’s face into the hardwood and causing him to bleed from his temple and his mouth.
MSU junior guard Quinton Everett missed the last three weeks after suffering a fracture in his hand. He played 17 minutes on Friday. He made his only 3-point attempt, both his field goal attempts and all five free throws in scoring 10 points off the bench.
Montana State plays Division II Hawaii-Hilo today.