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Warriors squeeze past Utah Valley, 70-69

Sheriff Drammeh scored a game-high 20 points — including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 37.5 seconds remaining — and Gibson Johnson added 15 points and six rebounds tonight to help Hawai’i squeeze past visiting Utah Valley, 70-69, in thrilling non-conference men’s basketball action.

A tense and vocal crowd of about 4,500 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched Mike Thomas add eight points and six boards and Brocke Stepteau contribute seven points and six assists off the bench as the Warriors improved to 7-2. Jake Toolson scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Johnson broke a 64-64 tie with a layup and free throw with 1:33 remaining, but Zach Nelson answered by backing in on Johnson and muscling in for a layup with 48 seconds left to put the Wolverines up, 68-67.

Drammeh then drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key 10 seconds later to put UH back in front, 70-68. Nelson made the first of two free throws with 25.2 showing on the clock, but missed his second attempt.

Drew Buggs got fouled on the other end on the Warriors’ next possession, but he missed both free throw attempts, giving Utah Valley possession with 15.6 seconds remaining. After a 3-point attempt by Conner Toolson glanced off the rim, Bugg grabbed the rebound but immediately fell to the ground and was called for traveling.

But the ensuing inbounds pass was overthrown and Stepteau recovered the loose ball and ran out the clock past half court.

The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic is next on the schedule. Hawai’i will host nationally-ranked Miami on the opening night, December 22, at 8:00 p.m.

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

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