Troy Holds off Hawai’i in thriller

Jack Purchase / Hawai'i Athletics

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team erased a 17-point deficit but ultimately couldn’t get over the hump in a 65-63 loss to Troy Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center. UH dropped to 3-3 on the season.

Troy (3-3) blitzed UH with the first 16 points of the game but UH clawed back. The Rainbow Warriors tied the score twice in the second half and had multiple opportunities to take the lead or tie the game in the final 10 seconds but were unable to convert.

Jack Purchase led the Rainbow Warriors with a season-high 21 points with all six of his field goals coming from three-point range. Noah Allen andBrocke Stepteau chipped in 12 points apiece.

Wesley Person and Jordan Vornado led the Trojans with 14 points each.

UH was undone by 36 percent shooting, 18 turnovers and a nightmare of a start. The ‘Bows missed their first six shots, turned the ball over five times and went scoreless more than five minutes into the game. Troy raced out to a 16-0 lead to the start the game and led by as many as 17 in the first half.

UH trailed 33-24 at the break, in a half that saw UH commit 14 turnovers and put up their lowest halftime total so far this season.

The ‘Bows tied the game twice in the second half. A Leland Green three-pointer tied the score, 37-37, less than five minutes into the second half. Troy rattled off nine unanswered to give them some breathing space but UH again tied the game, 60-60 on a Allen fast-break layup with just two minutes left.

Trailing 64-63, UH had the ball and an opportunity to win the game with 10 seconds left. However, Allen slipped and turned the ball over. UH subsequently fouled Kevin Baker who made one of two free throws to make it 65-63 with 4.5 seconds left. UH again had one last gasp effort as Allen raced down the floor and put up a driving layup, but it came hard off the glass and Purchase’s follow-up was also off the mark.

The Rainbow Warriors now look to rebound when they take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday, Nov. 27 as the second game of a doubleheader with the Rainbow Wahine basketball team. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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