Sheriff Drammeh and Drew Buggs proved to be spark-plugs for the Rainbow Warriors' 80-60 victory over UC Davis on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"That was a really big one for our team," head coach Eran Ganot said. "With what was on the line, obviously coming off a difficult loss, you gotta respond real quick against a championship calliber team program coming in Davis."
Hawaiʻi (12-7, 3-2 Big West Conference) bounced back from Wednesday's one-point heartbreaking loss to UC Irvine, as they limited the Aggies (5-14, 1-4 BWC) to shooting 40 percent.
Drammeh set the tone early in the first half, as he hit a short-corner jumper and a long 3-pointer to give the 'Bows a 7-3 lead.
UH eventually closed out the first half on a 16-6 run, with Drammeh and freshman center Dawson Carper scoring 14 points. Drammeh shot a pair of long NBA-like 3-pointers to make it 40-32 'Bows at halftime.
Senior forward Jack Purchase carried on the momentum by shooting consecutive 3s to start the second half. Junior guard Eddie Stansberry shot one from the corner to put the 'Bows up 49-32.
UCD's Stefan Gonzalez made the Aggies' first score of the period at 15:42. The Aggies rallied back and cut the deficit within 10 points with 12 minutes left in the game.
Buggs hit back-to-back baskets, followed by a shot from junior forward Zigmars Raimo to make it 68-52 with seven minutes left.
Buggs found Raimo for consecutive shots in the paint, followed by a swing to Stansberry for a 3-point jumper to make it 75-55. Drammeh proceeded to show off shooting abilities with another successful 3-pointer.
"We had to close out the game, and that's what we did," Drammeh said. "They went out with great energy and great composure. We did not get phased by them going on a little run, instead we made our own and managed to close out the game. "
Buggs capped it off with a layup in the paint to give the 'Bows an easy 25 point lead.
UCD desparately tried to comeback with a couple of free-throws, but the clock expired as the 'Bows took the 80-60 win. The Aggies only shot 7-for-24 in the second half.
"We've led teams back in the game, so that's something that we really wanted to make a focus point on today, is not letting this team back in the game," Buggs said.
Drammeh led the 'Bows with 18 points, shooting 7-for-10 from the line and 4-for-5 from 3-point land. Raimo scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, thanks to Buggs. Carper came off the bench to score 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting with five rebounds.
Buggs finished with 12 points and 12 assists, for his second career double-double. The sophomore's assists were the most by a UH player since Miah Ostrowski's 12 against New Mexico State on March 9, 2012.
Next up for the 'Bows is another Big West match-up against Long Beach State on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.