UPDATED: Warriors fall at UC Davis; still no word from NCAA
Brynton Lemar scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds tonight to help UC Davis pull away from visiting Hawai’i, 68-59, in Big West Conference men’s basketball action.
Chima Moneke added 14 points and nine rebounds and Lawrence White contributed 14 points and five boards as the Aggies improved to 19-11 overall, moved into a tie for first place in the Big West at 11-4. UC Davis will travel to UC Irvine on Saturday in a game for the Big West regular-season championship.
The Warriors fell to 14-14 overall and 8-7 in the conference after their second loss to UC Davis this season. Hawai’i is now in a tie for fourth place with Long Beach State heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against the 49ers in Long Beach, Calif.
Jack Purchase hit five 3-pointers and led UH with 15 points and nine rebounds, Noah Allen added 13 points and eight boards, and Gibson Johnson contributed 12 points and five rebounds. The Warriors took 27 shots from 3-point range — making seven — but was limited to only one free throw — Johnson’s front-end miss of a 1-and-1 bonus late in the second half.
“The game dictates some things, but we’re a good free throw shooting team and we took ourselves out of that,” Hawai’i coach Eran Ganot said in a post-game interview on ESPN1420 radio. “We settled (for 3-pointers). Jack was 5 for 11, but the rest of the team was 2 for 16.”
After trailing 30-27 at halftime, the Warriors began the second half with an 18-6 run highlighted by eight straight points by Johnson and took a 42-36 lead on Leland Green’s jumper off an inbounds pass. But UC Davis responded with a 9-3 surge capped by Darius Graham’s layup to tie it at 45-45 with 8:30 remaining in the game.
Allen scored on a layup to quickly put UH back in front, 47-45, but Lemar hit the front end of a 1-and-1 to start the Aggies on a 7-0 run capped by his own 3-pointer that made it 52-47 with 6:48 left. Lemar scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half.
Zigmars Raimo finally broke the Warriors’ scoring drought with a layup to cut it to 52-49 a little more than a minute later, but Lemar then hit another 3-pointer to spark an 8-2 run capped by Moneke’s 3-point play that made it 60-51 with 3:29 remaining.
“We lost our ability to contain and stayed with the ball screen, and that freed up Lemar,” Ganot said. “We did a good job on him for 35 minutes, but then he got those back-to-back 3’s. You cannot leave a Player of the Year candidate open like that, and we did. We defended fairly well until that stretch. We didn’t finish it, and that’s our shame, and it’s on us.”
Purchase drained his final 3-pointer 11 seconds later to cut it to 60-54, but Graham answered with a 3 at the two-minute mark and Hawai’i could not close the gap thereafter.
UC Davis jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game, but Purchase hit a 3-pointer to immediately cut the lead in half and the Warriors later took a brief 13-12 lead on Green’s layup off Ido Flaisher’s assist. The teams then traded baskets and brief leads for awhile until White hit a 3-pointer and Lemar followed with a jumper to put the Aggies ahead, 22-18 with about seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Allen closed it to 24-23 with a hook shot at the 5:27 mark, but a UH turnover led to a fast break basket for UC Davis and Siler Schneider later completed a three-point play to extend the lead to 30-25, before Sheriff Drammeh put back his own miss with 1:40 left to help the Warriors close it to 30-27 at halftime.
Hawai’i now heads south to Long Beach for Saturday’s 3 p.m. (HST) regular season finale, still not knowing whether its NCAA postseason ban will be lifted.
Ganot said he is confident the Warriors will choose to focus on the game at hand rather than the ones that could be in next week’s Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim.
“I know our team’s gonna get ready (for Long Beach), we’re gonna travel and be organized in our prep,” Ganot said. “(The players) have already been a shining light in a dark tunnel all season, but why not go for more? We just have to stay focused on the things we can control — it’s easy to say and hard to do … but we gotta keep living it.”
at Cal Poly 76, CSUN 70
at Cal State Fullerton 65, UC Santa Barbara 54
at UC Davis 68, Hawai’i 59
UC Davis at UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara at Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton at CSUN
Hawai’i at Long Beach State, 3:00 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
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