Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors shoot down Highlanders, 74-69, in overtime

Jack Purchase hit the go-ahead basket with 33.6 seconds remaining in overtime, then grabbed a crucial rebound, then hit a game-clinching free throw to lead the University of Hawai’i basketball team to a thrilling 74-69 road win at UC Irvine on Saturday.

The Rainbow Warriors tied a school record with 14 3-pointers, and they needed every one to hold off the Highlanders. Hawai’i improved to 15-10 overall and remained in sixth place in the Big West Conference at 6-6.

UCR dropped to 7-19 and 2-10. The Hawai’i win avenged an upset loss to the Highlanders earlier this month.

Sheriff Drammeh scored a career-high 23 points, including 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, to lead Hawai’i. He also drew a charging foul, then made two free throws in the closing seconds of overtime.

Purchase added 12 points and 10 rebounds. His 15-foot jumper with 33.6 seconds remaining gave Hawai’i the lead for good at 71-69. He grabbed a rebound on UCR’s ensuing possession.

Drew Buggs added 11 points and seven assists, and Brocke Stepteau had 11 points for the Warriors.

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.

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. Stepteau, Drammeh and Purchase each hit a 3-pointer during the surge.

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.

UCR seized the momentum when Chance Murray scored on a breakaway layup and got fouled. He hit the subsequent free throw to give the Highlanders a 52-51 lead with 4:55 remaining.

The Warriors did not waver, and 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.

More details will be posted later.


  1. Things falling into place for warriors ..2 good wins on road!. I still think Eran has to recruit more athletes ..bigs.?wings..however..without question I believe this year..not next ..Hawaii will win the BigWest tournament and go to ncaa’s ..they play great defense..hit their shots..they are going to ncaa’s for 2nd time in 3 years. Reason? Team has great heart and grit!

  2. Close win against a bad team in a very weak conference.

  3. Riverside may have a bad record, but they’re a talented team… more talented than people realize. In the last few weeks, they’ve played Santa Barbara and Irvine tough, they almost beat Cal Poly on the Road, they just beat Northridge, and they recently got some of their better players back in the lineup.

    Coupled that with Hawaii playing without Mike Thomas, having Gib in foul trouble, and playing the 2nd game on the road (which has traditionally been tougher for ALL Hawaii teams)… I’d say this overtime win was pretty impressive, considering what this team has gone through the past few weeks.

    If Hawaii can sweep this final homestand, we’ll be in good shape going on the road to finish the season and to do well in the Big West tournament.

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