HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors opened Big West Conference play with a tight victory of UC Riverside, 88-83 in California.
In the first half, the ‘Bows edged out a 30-26 lead over the Highlanders, led by forward James Jean-Marie — a transfer from San Diego — who scored eight points, hitting four shots on 7 attempts in his first start of the season. The ‘Bows also taking advantage of 11 turnovers committed by the Highlanders, turning them into 14 points — compared to UH’s one turnover in the half.
After UCR tied the game at 48 a piece, UH would pull away again to lead, 62-56 with a little over five minutes left in the game. Jean-Marie continued to shine, scoring eight points in the span of a minute to give Hawaii the lead.
The ‘Bows and Highlanders would go back and forth in the final minutes of the game.
In an exciting finish, the ‘Bows saw a 10-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the game fall to just three points with 21 seconds left in the game, but guard Junior Madut hit four free throws in the the final seconds of the game to seal game one.
Hawaii’s Jean-Marie went 10-for-15 shooting from the field — a season high — including 3-for-4 from the 3-point line, while Junior Madut went 7-for-11 from the field with two 3-pointers and went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Hawaii and Riverside face off again on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Hawaii time, streaming from California on BigWest.TV.