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UH men’s basketball team fends off North Carolina A&T on Maui

WAILUKU >> The Hawaii men’s basketball team used a late run to put away North Carolina A&T, 65-57, in front of a vocal near-capacity crowd at War Memorial Gym.

The Rainbow Warriors (5-4) relinquished a five-point halftime lead at the outset of the second half, and the A&T Aggies (4-8) hung around until the final 5 minutes.

But freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half to spur UH home on a three-game winning streak.

A&T went ahead by a point twice more, but Stokes answered with a 3-pointer each time. When the Aggies drew to 49-48 he sunk two free throws to kick off a game-breaking 12-0 spurt.

The Aggies hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to make the deficit more respectable.

Junior center Vander Joaquim added 16 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Zane Johnson struggled from the field again but hit all seven of his free-throw attempts for 13 points.

UH coach Gib Arnold reverted to a more traditional starting lineup, front-loading his best players. Stokes, Johnson, Joston Thomas, Joaquim and Trevor Wiseman got the nod.

UH shot 55.6 percent in the first half, but was hindered by 13 turnovers in the period. The ‘Bows led by as many as nine points early, but A&T hung around and UH led 35-30 at halftime.

The ‘Bows play next on Thursday against Auburn in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

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