HONOLULU, HI Buffalo did something it hasnt done in 14 years, win an in-season tournament, as the Bulls won the 45th Annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic with a 67-53 victory over Colorado State on Tuesday night.
Buffalo's Calvin Betts wrestles ball from CSU's Dan Vandervieren
Andy Robinson was named the tournaments most valuable player, while Calvin Betts was named to the all-tournament team.
Colorado State got off to a quick start in the game as the Rams scored 13 of the games first 15 points, but the Bulls hung tight and tied the game up by going on a 13-2 run. Colorado State again went up by nine points with 5:25 left in the opening half, but UB finished the half on a 9-0 run to go into the locker room tied at 34.
UBs defense really stepped it up in the second half as the Bulls allowed just 19 points in the half, outscoring the Rams 33-19 in the final 20 minutes of action. The Bulls never trailed in the second half as a Titus Robinson dunk got UB started off on the right foot.
The Bulls were led by 17 points from Rodney Pierce, who scored 11 of those points in the second half. Pierce also added seven rebounds. Robinson continued his strong play in the tournament with 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior Greg Gamble finished with 11 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Jawaan Alston tied his career-high with seven rebounds, while adding six points and a blocked shot.
This was a really great win for our guys and for our entire program, said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. We came in here and got three victories over teams from conferences that we have never beaten. Even though things didnt go right at the start, we hung in there and I thought we had great energy tonight.
The championship victory was UBs first since the 1994-95 season when the Bulls won the Pepsi-Iona Tournament.
The Bulls also join an elite group of winners of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic that includes storied programs such as North Carolina, Duke and Indiana. It was also announced that this will be the final Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in its current eight-team format.Andy Robinson and Betts join an exclusive group as former players to be named to the all-tournament team include Pete Maravich, Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner and Paul Pierce.