(Hawaii Athletics) – The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team got off to a torrid start and maintained its energy throughout in an impressive 79-71 win over Davidson on the second day of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.
UH (8-3) put out a solid performance on both ends of the court to move into the fifth-place game of the tournament at 9:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. The Rainbow Warriors will face Princeton, which defeated Akron earlier in the day on a buzzer beater.
Sheriff Drammeh continued his scoring tear with a career-high 22 points, 16 of those coming in the first half. The junior guard, who also added seven rebounds, has led the team in scoring the last three games with two 20-point performances. Gibson Johnson also had a solid showing, tying his career high with 19 points for the Rainbow Warriors who made eight of their first 12 shots and shot 52 percent in the first half.
UH got the job done defensively as well against one of the top offensive teams in the country. The 'Bows held the Wildcats (4-6) to just 33 percent shooting in the first half and made it a difficult night for top scorer Peyton Aldridge. Aldridge finished with 26 points, but shot just 8-of-23 from the field and 2-of-10 from three-point range.
After falling behind 5-2 in the early minutes, UH turned it up. A 17-2 run, capped by a Drammeh three-pointer put the Rainbow Warriors up by double-digits eight minutes in. UH led by as many as 15 in the first half before taking a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
Davidson cut the deficit to 48-45 a little more that four minutes into the second half. But UH went on a 9-0 run to push the lead back to double-digits and the Wildcats never got closer than seven points after that.
USC will face New Mexico State in the championship game of the tournament. The Trojans defeated Middle Tennessee, while the Aggies upset sixth-ranked Miami.