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Warriors hold off Alabama A&M, 71-63

Eddie Stansberry scored a game-high 26 points — including 17 in the first half — and Zigmars Raimo added 14 points and seven rebounds tonight to help Hawai’i hold off upset-minded visiting Alabama A&M, 71-63, in non-conference men’s basketball action.

A sparse-but-supportive crowd of about 2,500 at the Stan Sheriff Center also watched Sheriff Drammeh contribute seven points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal off the bench — all in the second half — as the Warriors improved to 9-5 entering Big West Conference play next week. Tre Todd scored 18 points to lead the Bulldogs, who fell to 1-12.

For most of the game, Alabama A&M did not play like a 1-win team. The Bulldogs torched the nets from 3-point range in the first half, swishing 8 of 14 attempts (57.1 percent) including an improbable bank shot from the left wing by Todd to put them ahead, 34-26, with 3:50 remaining in the first half. UH responded with an 8-0 run to tie it up at the break, 34-34.

The Warriors finally took the lead for good on Raimo’s layup off of Jack Purchase’s nifty no-look pass six minutes into the second half, and eventually extended it to 63-52 after Purchase sank a jumper from the right elbow with 4:57 left. But Alabama A&M wasn’t finished, and mounted one last rally that pulled it to 63-61 after Walter Jones’ jumper from the right baseline with 1:51 remaining.

Stansberry then answered with a three-point play with 1:16 left to make it 66-61, and after Jalen Reeder closed it to 66-63 with two free throws at the 1:04 mark, Purchase and Drew Buggs combined to sink five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

The Warriors’ next game will be against Cal State Fullerton on January 9 in the opener of the Big West Conference regular season.

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

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