Back at full health, Noel Coleman and Samuta Avea led the University of Hawaii basketball team to a 72-54 victory over Mississippi Valley State in tonight’s opening round of the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic.

A crowd of 3,445 at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center saw Coleman break a 39-all tie with his 3 with 13:06 to play. Coleman finished with a game-high 22 points.

After MVSU’s Walter Hamilton scored on a tip, the ’Bows reeled off nine points in a row.

Playing in his first UH game since March 7, 2020, Avea contributed 20 points. In a three-possession sequence, Avea parlayed a lob into a slam, hit a reverse layup and then buried a 3.

The ’Bows built a 43-23 rebounding advantage, including 23-7 off the offensive glass.

Despite poor 3-point shooting, the ’Bows held on for a 30-28 lead at the intermission.

They connected on 4-for-20 shooting from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes.

The ’Bows were without point guard Juan Munoz, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in last week’s exhibition. JoVon McClanahan started at the point, and Justus Jackson and Amoro Lado came off the bench to take turns directing the offense.

In the earlier game, Yale scored 19 unanswered points to break a 38-all tie and speed away to a 74-60 victory over Eastern Washington.

Matt Knowling connected on 10 of 15 shots, including all four from 3-point range, and finished with a game-high 26 points. Knowling was 7-for-10 after the intermission.

The Bulldogs outscored the Eagles 42-27 in the second half.

The Eagles made two runs to narrow the deficit, but both times the 6-foot-6 Knowling answered with a 3.

Steele Venters led the Eagles with 15 points before fouling out in the final minute.

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