Mike Gerrity hadn't been to Hawaii since he was about 6 years old.
But in his first trip back, the USC point guard starred this week, leading the Trojans to three wins, including a 67-56 victory over Nevada Las Vegas on Friday night in the final of the Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu, and earning tournament most-valuable-player honors.
Gerrity finished Friday's game with 13 points on four-for-eight shooting, including two for two from three-point range.
USC (8-4) won its sixth straight game behind a strong defense that held UNLV (12-2) to a season-low 56 points, ending the Runnin' Rebels' five-game winning streak. For USC, Gerrity carried the load against UNLV's pressure defense and full-court pressure. Three times he threw full-court passes against the press, leading to easy baskets.
Forward Marcus Johnson led the Trojans with 19 points (nine-for-19 shooting) and nine rebounds. He scored USC's first six points.
The Trojans used a 16-2 run to go up by 35-18 with 2:19 left in the first half. UNLV responded with a 12-2 run in the second half to cut the lead to 59-50 with 2:38 left, but USC was able to hang on.
Los Angeles native Oscar Bellfield led the Runnin' Rebels with 17 points on seven-for-16 shooting.
USC shot 45% from the field (21 for 47) and tied a season low with eight turnovers but missed 15 free throws (22 of 37).
The win was USC's third in four games against one-loss teams. The others came against Tennessee a week ago and St. Mary's on Wednesday.
USC's Pacific 10 Conference schedule begins on New Year's Eve, when the Trojans play host to Arizona.
St. Mary's 84, Hawaii 75 -- Omar Samhan scored 24 points to lead five players in double figures and the Gaels held off the Warriors in the tournament's third-place game.
Mickey McConnell scored 17 points, Ben Allen added 15 and Matthew Dellavedova and Clint Steindl each had 12 for the Gaels (11-2).
Dwain Williams scored 36 points to lead Hawaii (6-6).
St. Mary's capitalized with 30 points off 16 Hawaii turnovers.
Western Michigan 66, Charleston 63 -- David Kool scored 16 points and Martelle McLemore had 15 to lift the Broncos (6-5) over the Cougars in the fifth-place game.
Jeremy Simmons and Andrew Goudelock each scored 17 points and Tony White Jr. added 16 for the Cougars (6-6), who led by as many as 11 midway through the first half.
After McLemore made a three-pointer with 2:33 left to give Western Michigan a 64-60 lead, Donovan Monroe answered from three-point range for the Cougars, but the Broncos grabbed three offensive rebounds to run down the clock.
Holmes reported from Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.