There's a new Big West men's basketball leader, and it's the Rainbow Warriors.
Hawaiʻi (13-5, 4-1 BWC) managed to hold off UC Davis (12-7, 3-2 BWC) in a 77-72 victory after foul trouble sent three 'Bows to the bench in the second half on Saturday night.
UH was also without its fourth-leading scorer, junior guard Brocke Stepteau, who was recovering from last game's finger fracture on his right hand.
Both teams tied the score 9-9 leading into the first media timeout. Hawaiʻi went on a 7-0 at 11:33 to lead 16-12. The 'Bows had its first large lead 25-16 with 7:31 left in the first half. UC Davis responded back with a 6-0 run, but the 'Bows scored on two shots for a 30-22 lead. At the half, UH led 39-35 with the help of junior forward Jack Purchase's 14 points and four 3-pointers.
In the second half the Aggies rallied back to tie the game 39-39, but UH scored eight unanswered points after that. Senior forward Mike Thomas converted his first shot and guards Sheriff Drammeh and Drew Buggs hit 3-pointers to extend UH's lead 47-39. Both teams were subjective to foul trouble, but the 'Bows had three players sent to the bench.
Drammeh was given a technical foul at 8:27 after throwing the ball off forward Chima Moneke's face as he fell out of bounds. Thomas and Buggs fouled out at 0:46 and 0:35 as well.
Sophomore guard Leland Green hit a clutch 3-pointer with a minute left in the game for a six-point lead. But the Aggies weren't done just yet. Senior forward Gibson Johnson converted a three-point play with 28.8 seconds left, and UCD scored another 3-pointer and layup to counter. However, Purchase scored a couple of free throws with 12.8 seconds left to seal the 'Bows win over the Aggies, 77-72.
Purchase led the 'Bows with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was especially hot from the field, shooting 6-on-9 and 4-on-7 3-pointers. Green and Johnson added 11 points each.
For the Aggies, Moneke scored 14 points on nine rebounds and a season-high of nine turnovers. Guard T.J Shorts II led the Aggies with 21 points and Siler Schneider contributed to 16.
Next week, the 'Bows will conclude its four-game home-stand with a match-up with Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 28 with tip-off set for 8 p.m.