Diamond Head Classic 2013: St. Mary’s disappoints, Hawai’i surprises in holiday tournament


Iowa State probably wasn’t favored to win the 2013 Diamond Head Classic before the season, but they came in as heavy favorites despite a high-quality field. It wasn’t a surprise to see them head back to the continental 48 with a trophy, but it was definitely a surprise to see a former undefeated squad lose every game.

Dec 25, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; The Iowa State Cyclones bench and their fans celebrate in the second half against the Boise State Broncos in the 2013 Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Here was the order of finish at the Diamond Head Classic. Overall record is displayed followed by the team’s tournament record.

  1. Iowa State Cyclones: 11-0, 3-0
  2. Boise State Broncos: 10-3, 2-1
  3. South Carolina Gamecocks: 4-6, 2-1
  4. Akron Zips: 6-4, 1-2
  5. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors: 9-3, 2-1
  6. Oregon State Beavers: 7-4, 1-2
  7. George Mason Patriots: 6-6, 1-2
  8. St. Mary’s Gaels: 9-3, 0-3

Obviously, the Gaels hurt more than helped their resume after a 9-0 start to their season. They even defeated Akron and Boise State earlier in the year, but they didn’t face either of those teams in Honolulu.

Like many West Coast Conference teams, getting control of the boards was a struggle. St. Mary’s averaged 27.3 rebounds over the event, which was far below their average of 35.5 that ranks just 190th overall.

That didn’t kill them in the end, however, as they actually outrebounded two teams. What they’ll look back on and be most upset about are all the turnovers (41 combined) and sending the opponents to the free throw line. South Carolina, Hawai’i, and George Mason had a combined 84 free throw attempts and enjoyed a +18 attempt margin.

So much for an at-large bid for the Gaels.

Speaking of the Warriors, the hosts had a decent run in the tournament picking up wins over the Gaels and Oregon State. They came one point shy of making it into the semifinals against South Carolina. While they’ll never be close to an at-large bid in the Big West, they have to look like promising favorites in conference.

More shocking was the ability for the Gamecocks to pick up two wins. Credit Frank Martin for a really hard job with an extremely young ball club. Defensively, they really did the best out of the entire field.

However, USC turnovers really plagued the team and the offensive numbers are just atrocious. This team has to learn to either create easier shots or make some jump shots. They did well against St. Mary’s which gave them the surprisingly easy win (58.3 percent) but couldn’t hit above 37.6 in the last two games.

Similar to Boise State, I don’t believe the Gamecocks could have competed well against Iowa State, and they had enough of a rebounding advantage to dominate either St. Mary’s or Hawai’i on the boards. Their side of the bracket actually created tougher matchups, and that should give people more reasons to be excited about the Cyclones.

Well, except this guy.