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Warriors earn upset road win at UC Irvine, 62-61

The University of Hawai’i basketball team ended a five-game losing streak with a 62-61 upset victory at UC Irvine on Thursday night at Irvine, Calif.

Sheriff Drammeh and Gibson Johnson scored 13 points each and Mike Thomas added 10 as the Rainbow Warriors improved to 14-10 overall and 5-6 in the Big West Conference. The Anteaters had a five-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 13-15 and 8-4.

The Warriors led by as many as 10 points in the first half, and then held off UCI’s rally in the closing minutes. Hawai’i won despite shooting just 35.2 percent for the game, including 12.5 percent in the second half.

The Anteaters had the final possession of the game, but called a late timeout (0.4 seconds remaining) and could not get a clean shot off in time.

Hawai’i raced to a 13-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game and stayed in front the entire first half. A 3-pointer by Brocke Stepteau gave the Warriors a 32-22 lead with 4:59 remaining in the half.

The Warriors eventually took a 39-32 lead at intermission, with Johnson scoring all 13 of his points, and Drammeh scoring nine in the first half.

The Anteaters caught the Warriors midway through the second half, tying the score at 49 on a 3-pointer by Evan Leonard with 9:55 remaining. The game stayed close the rest of the way.

Mike Thomas hit two free throws with 43.2 seconds remaining to give Hawai’i a 62-59 advantage. UCI responded with a hook shot by Tommy Rutherford to cut the UH lead to 62-61 with 35.7 seconds remaining.

Drammeh missed a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring on Hawai’i’s next possession, and the Anteaters appeared to lose track of the time in the ensuing scramble.

More details will be reported later.

(Game photo courtesy Warren Haraki)

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