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UPDATED: Warriors roll past Davidson, 79-71

Shifting gears on the fly and rarely touching the brake pedal, the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team raced past visiting Davidson, 79-71, Saturday night in a consolation semifinal game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

An appreciative crowd of 5,946 at the Stan Sheriff Center and a national TV audience on ESPNU watched Sheriff Drammeh score a career-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists and Gibson Johnson tie his career-high with 19 points along with seven boards and three blocks for the Rainbow Warriors, who improved to 8-3 heading into Monday’s 9:30 fifth-place game vs. Princeton (6-7). That game also will be televised live on ESPNU.

Peyton Aldridge scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Davidson, which dropped to 4-6 and will face Akron for seventh place at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

“(This was) probably one our best performances in the past couple years, to be honest, when you put it in the context of the combination of coming off an emotional game (a 75-57 loss to No. 6-ranked Miami) 24 hours ago against a really tough team, and then having to turn around … against this team,” Hawai’i coach Eran Ganot said. :We have a lot of respect for the Davidson program. We knew coming in that this would be a battle, and it just speaks to the growth of this team, the maturity of our team to respond like that.”

Drammeh scored 16 of his points during a crucial first half, when Hawai’i established a double-digit lead that held up throughout the second half.

“Momentum always feels good, right?” said Drammeh, who poured in 10 points in the game’s first eight minutes. “Getting off to a good start is super important in the game of basketball, it gave us a chance to control the whole game, basically.”

The Wildcats actually led, 5-2, after Kellan Grady’s 3-pointer with 18:13 remaining in the first half, but the Warriors responded with a stunning 15-2 run bookended by Drew Buggs’ layup and a 3-pointer from the right wing by Drammeh, who scored eight points during the surge.

Jack Purchase then drained a 3-pointer at the 11-minute mark to start a 9-2 run capped by Leland Green’s 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 30-15 with 8:54 before halftime, but Davidson quickly put together a 9-0 string culminating in Grady’s uncontested layup that cut it to 31-24 with 5:08 left, prompting a timeout by Ganot.

“You sometimes call it (a timeout) when you’re a little out of sync — we weren’t early in that run, but we were late (in the run),” Ganot said. “And it (the timeout) just settled us down. You really don’t want it to get closer than that, and it didn’t get closer than four or five (points).”

The Wildcats closed it to 34-30 after Aldridge’s 3-pointer from the top of they key with 3:09 remaining in the first half, but UH eventually took a 40-32 lead at intermission after Green drained a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left.

Davidson got as close as 48-45 on Jon Gundmundsson’s free throw with 15:47 remaining in the second half, but a 9-0 run sandwiched by Johnson’s jump hook and two fee throws gave the Warriors a 57-45 lead with 13:29 left. and the Wildcats did not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Green finished with 11 points and Purchase contributed 10 points off the bench.
“I feel like we had a solid first half against Miami and then we dropped off in that second half, so we knew we had to bounce back, and that’s been the strength of this team all season,” Johnson said. “Every single time we lost, we’ve been able to bounce back, so we just focused on that, not letting the loss get to us and focusing on playing our basketball.”

Earlier in the tournament, unranked New Mexico State upset No. 6 Miami in the semifinals. New Mexico State will face USC for the Diamond Head Classic championship on Monday (Christmas Day) at 1 p.m.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

(Game photos courtesy Matt Osumi and Chris Kadooka)

CLICK HERE to view more photos

Saturday’s Results
Semifinals
USC 89, Middle Tennessee 84
New Mexico State 63, Miami 54
Consolation
Princeton 64, Akron 62
Hawai’i 79, Davidson 71

Monday’s Games
Seventh Place – Akron vs. Davidson, 7:30 a.m.
Fifth Place – Princeton vs. Hawai’i, 9:30 a.m.
Championship – USC vs. New Mexico State, 1:00 p.m.
Third Place – Middle Tennessee vs. Miami, 3:30 p.m.

1 Comment

  1. Still would be super nice and pragmatic grateful for his play and academics… Brocke S. to get even a retroactive or active scholarship going into his senior year. In all the years of following Rainbow Warrior Basketball, never have seen a Walkon, who is averaging 9 ppg, major stablizing force, and hits key shots.. affecting wins for Hawaii. Just my opinion , Eran, why not? a scholie for Brocke?

    Mike T. hope he is okay, with picking up fouls so early, and past 3 games or so, not as dominant, either he is sick or injured still? Hope best, Yes, I like effort and love for Hawaii, from Mike , Brocke and Zach and their families.

    Bows Warriors got get Princeton, very good sharp, smart team, SSC home court advantage, Go Bows, if Princeton not tired, should be close win for Hawaii !

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