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UPDATED: Warriors tie 3-point record, get revenge at UC Riverside

The road to redemption featured a thrilling ride to victory for the University of Hawai’i basketball team on Saturday. The Rainbow Warriors tied a school record with 14 3-pointers, including five by Sheriff Drammeh, in a 74-69 overtime win at UC Riverside.

A crowd of 465 at the UCR Student Recreation Center in Riverside, Calif., watched the Warriors score the final five points of overtme to take the victory.

Hawai’i improved to 15-10 overall and remained in sixth place in the Big West Conference at 6-6. The Highlanders dropped to 7-19 and remained in ninth (last) at 2-10.

The win assured the Warriors a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament, March 8-10, at Anaheim, Calif. The top eight teams from the regular-season standings advance to the tournament.

Drammeh, a 6-foot-3 junior, scored a career-high 23 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, to lead Hawai’i. With the Warriors holding a 72-69 lead in the closing seconds of overtime, Drammeh drew a charging foul, then drained two free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining to secure the win. He also hit a game-tying shot with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to send it to overtime.

“Our point guards and my teammates were finding me in the right spots,” Drammeh said during a post-game interview on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. “I was open, I was starting to drain the shots. Drew (Buggs), Brocke (Stepteau), they were finding us in transition when we were open.”

Drammeh shot 8 for 10 from the field overall, and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line.

The victory for Hawai’i avenged a loss to lowly UCR in Honolulu earlier this month. It also gave the Warriors a sweep of this week’s two road games (they also beat UC Irvine, 62-61, on Thursday), following a five-game losing streak.

“Obviously, this gave us some momentum,” Drammeh said. “Losing five games, it’s not easy. We had to find a way to rally back and that’s what we did this week. It’s big coming up to California and getting a road sweep.”

Drammeh was one of several key contributors for the Warriors.

Jack Purchase had the first double-double of his career, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds. His 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining in overtime was the 14th of the game for the team, tying the record set three previous times by UH teams. Purchase then hit a 15-foot jumper with 33.6 seconds remaining to give Hawai’i the lead for good at 71-69.

UCR missed a shot on the ensuing possession, and Purchase grabbed the rebound. He then made one of two free throws to give the Warriors a 72-69 lead with 9.3 seconds left.

Drew Buggs added 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Warriors, and Brocke Stepteau contributed 11 points, including 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Sophomore forward Zigmars Raimo played a career-high 33 minutes, and finished with six points, five rebounds and five assists.

Hawai’i played without senior captain Mike Thomas, who sat out with an undisclosed injury. He is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, and had a game-high 18 points in the first meeting with UCR.

What’s more, senior starting forward Gibson Johnson scored four points and was limited to 10 minutes due to foul trouble. He fouled out with 3:41 remaining, when the Warriors trailed, 55-53.

Purchase started in Thomas’ place, and the Warriors trailed 10-5 early in the contest. A 3-pointer by Drammeh with 6:15 remaining gave Hawai’i its first lead of the game at 16-14.

The game stayed close after that, and the Warriors eventually took a 25-22 lead at intermission. The low scoring in the first half was reflected in the shooting percentages. Hawai’i was 8 for 24 (33.3 percent) from the field in the first half, and UCR was 7 for 26 (26.9 percent).

A 13-2 run by the Warriors early in the second half gave Hawai’i a 40-30 lead with 14:28 remaining. The Warriors led by as many as 11 (46-35), but the Highlanders cut it to 48-45 with 8:13 remaining on two free throws by Menno Dijkstra.

The game stayed close the rest of the way. There were eight ties and 15 lead changes during the contest.

The Highlanders had a 58-54 lead with less than two minutes remaining, but the Warriors did not waver. A driving shot by Drammeh tied the score at 58 with 32 seconds remaining. UCR had the final possession and worked for a final shot, but Martin missed a pull-up jumper from 17 feet away, sending the game to overtime.

Hawai’i shot 4 for 5 from the field in overtime, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range. For the game, the Warriors shot 46.9 percent from the field and 50 percent (14 for 28) from 3-point range.

UCR out-rebounded Hawai’i, 39-32, but the Highlanders shot just 37.7 percent from the field. The Highlanders made 10 3-pointers (in 26 attempts). The 24 combined 3-pointers for the two teams is the most in a Hawai’i game.

Chance Murray led the Highlanders with 21 points, seven assists and seven steals. His seven steals tied the record for most by an opposing player against Hawai’i.

The Warriors are scheduled to return to Honolulu on Sunday, and will play their final two home games of the season on February 22 (Long Beach State) and February 24 (UC Irvine). Senior captains Thomas and Johnson will be honored after the February 24 game.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

(Game photos courtesy Warren Haraki)

CLICK HERE to view photo gallery

CLICK HERE to see video interview of Sheriff Drammeh

Saturday’s Results
UC Davis 71, at UC Santa Barbara 54
at Cal State Fullerton 88, CSUN 70
UC Irvine 75, at Cal Poly 58
Hawai’i 74, at UC Riverside 69 (OT)

Wednesday’s Game, Feb. 21
Cal State Fullerton at UC Riverside

Thursday’s Game, Feb. 22
CSUN at Cal Poly
UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine
Long Beach State at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m. HT

Saturday’s Games, Feb. 24
UC Riverside at UC Davis
UC Santa Barbara at CSUN
Long Beach State at Cal State Fullerton
UC Irvine at Hawai’i, 7:00 p.m. HT

3 Comments

  1. Numerous players came through, including Ziggy, 33 minutes,Sheriff who shot 80% FG Pct, Jack and Drew.

  2. 2-0 on the road trip, can’t complain about that. Just keep building chemistry and momentum for the BWC tournament.

  3. BigWest perfect conference for warriors. Notice any team can win BWC tournament and go to NCAA big dance!
    I hope 5700 or 7000 at least come out to SSC for final 2 home games… So important get wins and send Gibson and Mike out with big Aloha.
    Still cannot thank Mike. Brocke and Zach for staying course and playing for Hawaii. Hope all 3 on track to grad! Remember keep APR good.

    Go Bows Warriors!!

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