Gibson Johnson and Sheriff Drammeh scored 13 apiece and Michael Thomas hit four free throws in the final 41 seconds to help Hawaii cool off UC Irvine 62-61 on Thursday night, ending the Anteaters’ five-game win streak.
Johnson sank 6 of 12 shots from the floor and grabbed six rebounds for the Rainbow Warriors (14-10, 5-6 Big West Conference) on a cold-shooting night for both teams. Thomas added 10 points and seven boards. Hawaii made just 19 of 54 shots (35 percent), including 4 of 17 from 3-point range (23.5 percent), but sank 20 of its 24 free throws.
Incredibly the Rainbow Warriors, who snapped a five game losing streak shot just 3-for-24 from the field in the second half (35.2 percent overall) but made the most of 24 trips to the foul line, converting on 20 of those shots.
Tommy Rutherford paced UC Irvine (13-15, 8-4) with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Evan Leonard added 11 points and Eyassu Worku scored 10.
Thomas hit 1 of 2 free throws with 3:29 remaining in the game to pull the Rainbow Warriors even at 56 and Drammeh followed with two free throws for the lead. Rutherford sank 1 of 2 foul shots to pull UC Irvine within a point, but Thomas hit four straight free throws to keep Hawaii ahead. Worku missed a 3-pointer for the Anteaters at the buzzer.