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Warriors run away from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 64-44

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The University of Hawai’i basketball team overcame a cold start and finished strong in a 64-44 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Warriors improved to 4-3 while bouncing back from a disappointing two-point loss to Troy just two nights earlier. The Golden Lions dropped to 1-5.

Gibson Johnson scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead a balanced Hawai’i offense.
Jack Purchase added 11 points and six rebounds, Matt Owies scored a season-high 11 points and four assists, and Larry Lewis Jr. scored a season-high 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting. All 13 Hawai’i players in uniform saw action.

After shooting just 31 percent from the field in the first half, the Warriors shot 65 percent in the second half, and finished at 44.9 percent (22 for 49) for the game.

The Warriors went scoreless for the first 4:20 of the game, and fell behind 5-0. A fastbreak layup by Drammeh with 15:40 remaining in the first half was UH’s first made basket of the game.

With 13:08 remaining in the first half, the Warriors somehow managed to take a 6-5 lead despite shooting 1 for 11 from the field (including 0 for 7 from 3-point range). Four of Hawai’i’s early points came on free throws by Allen.

UAPB took the lead right back with a 7-0 surge, which included a deep 3-pointer from Ghiavonni Robinson as the shot clock expired.

The Warriors finally got their shots to start falling midway through the first half, and an 8-1 run gave Hawai’i a 14-13 lead with 8:15 remaining. Hawai’i eventually took a 29-23 lead at intermission, despite shooting 31 percent (9 for 29) from the field, including 0 for 12 from 3-point range.

The Warriors were aided in the first half by 11 for 15 shooting from the free throw line, compared to UAPB’s 3 for 7.

Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot tried a different starting lineup for the first time this season, with sophomore walk-on guard Brocke Stepteau getting the first start of his collegiate career, ahead of freshman Leland Green. That changed by the second half, when freshman Matt Owies started in place of Stepteau.

The Warriors scored the first four points of the second half to increase their lead to 33-22. The Golden Lions never got closer than eight the rest of the way. Purchase scored seven points during a 13-0 Hawai’i surge that increased the lead to 54-32 with 5:12 remaining to secure the win.

More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.

(Game photo courtesy Matt Osumi)

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