Point guard Drew Buggs poured in a career-high 25 points and dealt six assists to lead the Hawaii men’s basketball team to an 85-75 victory over previously unbeaten San Francisco of the West Coast Conference tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH, which beat USF for the first time since 2006 — ending a streak of three losses in the series — improved to 5-2 heading into Sunday’s 5 p.m. matchup with Division II neighbor Hawaii Pacific.
USF (7-1) had a six-minute drought of field goals down the stretch, allowing UH to capitalize with a 14-1 run.
Buggs, a junior whose previous best was 17 points on three occasions, shot 11-for-19 from the field (3-for-6 on 3s) and did not attempt a free throw before fouling out late. Shooting guard Eddie Stansberry added 21 points, forward Zigmars Raimo had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and wing Samuta Avea scored 14 on 5-for-6 shooting.
UH, playing in retro jerseys to honor the seven on-hand members of the “Fabulous Five” teams of the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons, built an early 10-point lead in front of the crowd of 3,602 but saw that disappear midway through the second half.
UH carried a 39-30 lead at halftime largely on the strength of the backcourt. Buggs had 12 points in the period and Stansberry 11.
Dons 7-foot senior center Jimbo Lull matched his season high of 16 points in the first half with an old-school inside game, with a couple of complementary 3-pointers. But he was held to one point in the last 15:58 and finished with 24.
USF drew within two on three occasions in the second half before going ahead on consecutive buckets by guard Jamaree Bouyea as part of an 8-0 run with Buggs on the bench.
Avea ended the run with a second-chance 3-pointer and UH retook the lead on a free throw by Raimo.
USF wing Jordan Ratinho tied it at 58 on a catch-and-shoot 3. Stansberry canned an open jumper on an inbounds play to go up two, and Buggs followed with a corner 3 on another out-of-bounds play for a 63-58 lead with seven minutes left. Raimo followed with his first career 3.
Avea’s tip-dunk with two minutes left put the lead at 10.
Buggs was called for his fifth foul with 1:48 left. The Dons hit 3s to get within eight and seven points in the final minute.