Sheriff Drammeh got things started and point guard Drew Buggs keyed a late scoring surge as the Hawaii basketball team pulled away from UC Davis for an 80-60 Big West victory tonight.
UH (12-7, 3-2 Big West) came back emphatically from a one-point overtime loss to UC Irvine on Wednesday, shooting 55.8 percent from the field and keeping defending regular-season champ Davis (5-14, 1-4) in the doldrums.
A season-high Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 4,563 gave Buggs an ovation when he checked out with 2:08 to play, finishing with 12 points and 12 assists against six turnovers for his second career double-double.
The sophomore’s assist haul was the most by a UH player since Miah Ostrowski’s 13 against New Mexico State on March 9, 2012.
The senior guard Drammeh had 15 of his 18 points in the first half. Forward Zigmars Raimo, a frequent target of Buggs late, scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime. Freshman center Dawson Carper had a breakout game off the bench with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting with five rebounds.
Davis was struggling coming into the building, and those difficulties held true, despite last year’s conference player of the year, TJ Shorts II, running the show for the Aggies with 11 points and eight assists. Big man Matt Neufeld scored 17 and wing AJ John added 16 for the visitors.
UH closed out the first half on a 16-6 run, during which Drammeh and Carper scored 14. Drammeh closed with a pair of 3s sandwiching a Shorts drive to make it 40-32 at halftime.
Jack Purchase got the second half started with consecutive made 3s and Eddie Stansberry followed with one from the corner to make it 49-32.
Stefan Gonzalez hit UCD’s first basket of the period with 15:42 to play. The Aggies rallied back within 10 with 12 minutes left.
Back-to-back baskets by Buggs followed by a post score from Zigmars Raimo pushed it to 68-52 with seven minutes remaining.
Buggs found Raimo for consecutive buckets, followed by a dish to Stansberry for a transition 3, giving him a career high in dimes and making it a 20-point game.
Davis went the final 6:36 without a field goal. The Aggies went only 7-for-24 in the second half.