Washington State and Hawaii will meet in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic on Friday night in Honolulu.
Jabe Mullins’ 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds remaining lifted Washington State (5-6) to a 66-64 win over George Washington in the quarterfinals.
Hawaii (7-3), in turn, jumped out to a 14-point halftime lead before holding on for a 76-70 win over Pepperdine.
The winner advances to the championship game on Sunday, when it will face Utah State or SMU, with the losers meeting in the third-place game earlier that afternoon.
Washington State trailed the Colonials by a point with 15 seconds left when TJ Bamba dribbled the ball off his foot near the top of the key before corralling it and finding Mullins on the left wing for the game-winning shot.
“He’s just a weapon out there,” Washington coach Kyle Smith said of Mullins. “You can’t leave him open.”
George Washington’s James Bishop IV’s 3-point attempt failed to hit the basket as time expired.
Washington State’s Mouhamed Gueye scored a game-high 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, while Bamba added 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Mullins finished with eight points, which included him making 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, to go along with four assists.
The Rainbow Warriors’ win wasn’t as dramatic.
After Pepperdine trimmed a 19-point deficit in the second half to 60-56 with 4:36 remaining, Hawaii went on a 5-0 run and the Waves couldn’t recover.
Hawaii was led by Noel Coleman, who scored a team-high 22 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists, while Kamaka Hepa added 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. JoVon McClanahan added 17 points.
The Rainbow Warriors want to make the most of the ESPN-owned tournament that brings a national TV audience to Hawaii’s campus.
“Just knowing this is our tournament and ours to protect,” said Samuta Avea, who added 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Waves. “That’s the mentality going into it.”
–Field Level Media