Honolulu, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - A corner jumper by Christian Standhardinger with 1.4 seconds to play provided host Hawaii with a thrilling 76-74 win over the Saint Mary's Gaels in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Standhardinger finished with 22 points and nine rebounds for the Rainbow Warriors (8-3) as they notched their sixth win in the last seven outings. Also scoring in double figures for Hawaii were Isaac Fotu with 13 points, Brandon Spearman 12 and Aaron Valdes 10 points in the victory.
The Gaels (9-2), losers of two straight after landing in Honolulu with an unblemished 9-0 record, were led by Brad Waldow with 17 points and nine boards, followed by James Walker III with 16 points, Beau Levesque 14 and Kerry Carter 12 points in the losing cause. Stephen Holt accounted for nine points and a game-high eight assists.
Both teams shot the ball well from the floor in the first half, the Rainbow Warriors converting 52.0 percent and the visitors 54.5 percent, but even with a 6-of-11 showing behind the 3-point line and a perfect 9-of-9 effort at the charity stripe, the Gaels still trailed by four at the break, 43-39.
In the second half SMC again shot the ball well from the floor at a 51.9 percent clip, but the squad missed out on a chance to take a one-point lead with 30.3 seconds to play when Levesque missed a free throw following a game- tying layup.
With the score knotted at 72-72 the Rainbow Warriors played for the last shot and found Standhardinger in the corner for the game-winner.
Hawaii, which forced 17 turnovers and outscored the Gaels at the free-throw line, 22-12, won the only previous meeting between the programs before tonight as well, a 94-70 decision more than three decades ago.
Both teams will be back in action on Christmas Day as the Gaels battle George Mason and Hawaii goes up against Oregon State in the championship round of the tournament.