An offensively challenged 40 minutes gave way to an emphatic overtime period as Hawaii prevailed over Cal State Fullerton 64-58 on senior night tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The Rainbow Warriors rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit and Sheriff Drammeh had a chance to win it at the line with 4.2 seconds left with UH down a point, but he made only one of two, sending the game to the extra period as the crowd of 5,975 groaned.
But UH (14-13, 8-6 Big West) outplayed Fullerton (14-13, 8-6) in the extra frame, sending lone senior Noah Allen out a winner in his final home game. He scored a game-high 21 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Jack Purchase added 13, Gibson Johnson 11 and four blocks and Drammeh nine points.
The teams combined to miss their first 16 3-pointers and were 1-for-22 in the first half.
Allen finally connected from the top of the arc with 4:18 left in the period, giving UH a 21-16 lead.
Jack Purchase hit Allen for a backdoor dunk to extend the lead to six, but Fullerton had the last couple of baskets of the half to draw within 23-21 at intermission.
Allen had 13 points at that point, but four turnovers. CSF’s top scorer, Tre’ Coggins, was held to two points.
The Titans took the lead for the first time on Jackson Rowe’s two-handed fast-break dunk, plus the foul, early in the second. Purchase gave it back to UH momentarily with his first 3-point make in five attempts.
Coggins nailed a top-arc 3 to push Fullerton’s lead to 34-28.
Gibson Johnson and Leland Green connected on shots to get UH within two.
Johnson got his team fired up by swatting consecutive CSF shots on one possession, including a pin on the glass. Titans guard Lionheart Leslie was assessed a dead-ball technical foul on the play. Purchase made one of two free throws to get UH within 36-33, but the ’Bows turned it over on the ensuing possession and Coggins made a jumper.
Allen hit Johnson for a would-be dunk but the big man was called for traveling before the flush. At the other end, Arkim Robertson dunked it for CSF’s largest lead, 40-33.
Allen went backdoor from Purchase again, this time for a reverse. Purchase followed with a second-chance 3 from the corner to bring the hosts within 41-39 with 7:43 remaining.
Austen Awosika extended the Titans’ lead to four on a corner 3.
UH clawed back at the line. Brocke Stepteau’s drive with 2:41 left fouled out Leslie, but the point guard missed the second of two that would’ve tied it up.
Allen’s layup on a busted play drew his team within a point with 1:10 left. After Khalil Ahmad missed a 3, UH called timeout with 29.1 seconds left.
Allen’s drive and teardrop shot with under 10 seconds left caromed off the front iron, but Sheriff Drammeh collected the loose ball and got fouled with 4.2 seconds left.
Drammeh made the first to tie it, then after a Fullerton timeout, had his second shot rim out. Ahmad’s pull-up 3 to win was late and off the mark.
Purchase opened the extra period with a corner 3, UH’s first lead since close to the start of the second half.
UH led 51-48 after an Allen step-back jumper. Rowe had a chance to tie it on a three-point play but he missed the and-1 and Purchase stuck a corner 3 for a four-point lead.
Johnson blocked Rowe from behind after a Fullerton timeout and went off the glass at the other end, pushing the lead to six. Fullerton had to take fouls from there.
At halftime, former UH coach Riley Wallace, former center Tony “Bones” Davis and longtime broadcaster Jim Leahey were inducted into the UH Sports Circle of Honor.
UH closes the regular season on the road next week, at UC Davis and Long Beach State.