UPDATE: Houston to face No. 21 Washington in Diamond Head Classic finals
Update: No. 21 Washington defeated Hawai’i 72-61 in the second game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic semifinals to advance to the championship game against Houston on Christmas day.
The Huskies and Rainbow Warriors were in a tight contest in the first half until a 9-2 run by the No. 21 team in the nation created separation that Hawai’i was never able to recover from.
Washington expanded its lead to 15 points before the end of the first half and was able to keep Hawai’i at bay in the second half.
Similar to Georgia Tech, Washington ran a trapping half-court zone defense to force Hawai’i into committing 16 turnovers.
The Cougars struggled against the variety of defenses the Yellow Jackets threw at them in Houston’s victory.
Houston punched its ticket into the Diamond Head Classic finals behind Quentin Grimes’ 26-point performance after defeating Georgia Tech 70-59 on Monday evening in Honolulu.
The Cougars jumped on the Yellow Jackets early by building a 10-1 advantage and expanding it to as much as a 13-point lead in the first half.
Even though Houston held the lead for the entire period, the Yellow Jackets made multiple runs to cut the lead to a manageable deficit on various occasions, but the Cougars always seemed to have an answer.
Georgia Tech played various defensive looks throughout the game including a 3-2 trapping zone that gave Houston fits and made them go deep into the shot clock throughout the first half. Houston’s poise on both defense and offense kept them ahead.
Despite the Yellow Jackets switching defenses, they ran five different defensive schemes throughout the game, The Cougars did not make many mistakes in the first half as they committed only four turnovers in the period.
Grimes’ 23-point first-half performance was a big reason for the Cougars’ success.
The second half for Houston was a different story, however, as the offense went cold.
Houston managed to score only seven points in over the first 10 minutes of the period, shooting 2/16 during that time.
The Yellow Jackets did not fare any better during that stretch, scoring only 12 points in that time.
Houston managed to keep the lead at around seven points during the scoring struggles until the four-minute mark when Georgia Tech cut the lead to five, but like they did all game long, the Cougars responded with a baseline jumper from junior forward Fabian White Jr. and a tough contested jump shot plus a foul from sophomore guard Nate Hinton, which extended the lead back to 10.
Houston would build a 12-point lead off the scoring flurry sparked by White Jr., and it held on for the victory.
After limiting the turnovers in the first half to only four, Houston committed 11 in the second half, which was another issue on offense as many of them came off of unforced errors due to miscommunication issues.
Despite the offensive struggles, Houston outrebounded Georgia Tech 42-25, which provided them with plenty of second-chance opportunities as 16 of those rebounds from the Cougars were offensive boards that led to 13 second-chance points.
Grimes led the Cougars in scoring with 26 points for the game. White Jr. had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Houston will face No. 21 Washington in the Diamond Head Classic Finals at 7:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday.