HONOLULU (AP) — There was no stopping Isaiah Stewart in this one. Not with a single defender, anyway.
The freshman phenom had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 21 Washington over Hawaii 72-61 in the Diamond Head Classic semifinals Monday.
Quade Green added 11 points and seven assists for the Huskies (10-2), who will play Houston for the tournament title on Wednesday. Jaden McDaniels had nine points and 13 rebounds, and Nahziah Carter chipped in with 10 points.
Stewart made 13 of 21 shots from the field. He scored 16 points in the first half and finished with his fourth straight double-double.
“I thought they were going to double (me), but I saw that they were playing 1-on-1 and I thank God for coaches and teammates because as soon as they saw that, they told me, ‘They’re playing you 1-on-1, so just go every time, don’t even look to pass out,’” Stewart said.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward is a projected lottery pick in the NBA draft next June.
“There were some times I was trying to be unselfish, but they told me just keep going out there,” Stewart said.
Hawaii got within six on Zigmars Raimo’s basket in transition with 5:28 left, but went scoreless for more than three minutes while the Huskies reeled off an eight-point run to stretch their lead to 59-45 with 2:04 remaining.
Justin Webster had 16 points and Raimo added 15 points with 15 rebounds to lead the Rainbow Warriors (8-4), who shot a season-low 28%.
“They’re one of the more lengthy and athletic teams you’ll see in the country and they disrupted us, for sure, and all credit to them,” Hawaii acting coach Chris Gerlufson said.
The Huskies dominated in both points in the paint (40-18) and fast-break points (24-9).
Washington led 37-22 at halftime.
“I thought our guys played gritty,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “A little bit of foul trouble and they just kept fighting — that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to show poise and you’ve got to keep fighting. It's not going to be perfect all the time. You’ve got to stay together and do those things. I thought tonight that those guys did.”
Washington is off to its best start since the 2014-15 season, when it opened 11-0 before dropping its next four games. The Huskies, who have won eight of nine, were picked to finish third in the Pac-12 preseason media poll. They open begin play against UCLA at home on Jan. 2.
Hawaii has yet to reach the title game of the Diamond Head Classic in the 11-year history of the tournament. Hawaii finished third in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the annual eight-team field. The Rainbow Warriors were picked to finish fourth in the Big West in a preseason media poll.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Hawaii missed its first eight shots from the field and didn’t convert a field goal until the 12:22 mark with Raimo’s jumper from the elbow. The Rainbow Warriors missed their first 12 3-pointers, including seven by Eddie Stansberry, before Webster finally hit from long distance with 2:23 left in the first half.
“They’re good at guarding the 3-point line and taking the 3 away and then when you put the ball behind the zone, they’re good at trapping,” Gerlufson said. “We weren’t at our best tonight and I thought we let our shooting early kind of carry over into some other factors in the game, but the best thing about it is we get to regroup and play shortly. We have a really good team coming in on Christmas Day, so we’ve got to get ready for that.”
Washington: The Huskies own a 5-2 advantage over Houston all-time. The teams last met on Dec. 24, 2004, which resulted in a 110-63 win for Washington.
Hawaii: Will face Georgia Tech for third place Wednesday. The teams have split four meetings and last met in 1973, when the Yellow Jackets pulled out an 85-82 home win over the Rainbow Warriors.
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