The five-game losing streak is over.
Hawaiʻi (14-10, 5-6 Big West Conference) shot 3-for-24 in the second half against UC Irvine (13-15, 8-4 BWC), but made 20-for-24 at the foul line to pull through for a big 62-61 road win at the Bren Events Center Thursday night.
In addition to snapping its five-game losing skid, the 'Bows also snapped UCI's five-game winning streak.
UH got off to a solid start offensively after hitting four of the first five shots to lead 9-6 over the Anteaters. The 'Bows continued to push forward to shoot 8-for-11 from the field and led 18-12 with 11:19 left in the first half. Senior forward Gibson Johnson and junior guard Brocke Stepteau hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open up the 'Bows' largest lead 32-22. Hawaiʻi led 39-32 at the half, shooting 52% led by Johnson with 13 points.
Freshman guard Drew Buggs started the second half with a quick score by Stepteau. UCI sophomore guard Evan Leonard hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 49 with 10 minutes left. 'Bows senior forward Mike Thomas hit two free throws, but the Anteaters tied it again. UCI sophomore forward John Edgar Jr. hit a jumper at 5:06 to put the Anteaters at its first lead 56-55. Thomas responded back with another free throw at 3:30.
It all came down to the wire when the 'Bows were up 62-59 with 40 seconds left.
'Bows junior guard Sheriff Drammeh missed a 3-pointer, and UCI got the ball back and called a timeout with 0.4 seconds left in the game. UCI sophmore guard Eyassu Worku's game ending shot was off the mark, and that concluded UH's 62-61 victory over the Anteaters.
Johnson and Drammeh led the 'Bows with 13 points, and Thomas added 10.
The Anteaters were led by sophomore forward Tommy Rutherford with 13 points, shooting 4-for-5 from the field. Leonard had 11 and Worku added 10 points.
UH continues its road trip for a rematch at UC Riverside on Saturday, 5:30 p.m. HST.