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Hawaii roars back in win over UC Davis

Feb. 11—Under the weather all week, Noel Coleman found the cure with an an all-around performance Saturday in the Hawaii basketball team's 87-70 victory over UC Davis in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Under the weather all week, Noel Coleman found the cure with an all-around performance Saturday in the Hawaii basketball team's 87-70 victory over UC Davis in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 3, 984 saw the Rainbow Warriors knock off a second-place team for the second time in three nights to improve to 14-11 overall and 6-7 in the Big West. The Aggies fell to 15-8 and 10-3.

And for the second game in a row, Coleman held down a prolific scorer. After forcing UC San Diego's Bryce Pope to 1-for-7 shooting on Thursday, Coleman helped badger UCD's Elijah Pepper to miss 17 of 25 shots. Pepper hit eight of nine free throws and finished with 27 points, with most coming after the'Bows were ahead by double digits in the second half.

"We wanted to make him a volume shooter, " said associate head coach John Montgomery, who serves as the'Bows' defensive coordinator. "We wanted to make him work for every shot. If you look at Pope and Pepper the last two games, they're two of the best scorers in the league, and they both had tough nights because of Noel Coleman. I'd say Noel Coleman locked in and really defended. He took on the challenge. We've been telling him he's the best defender in the league, and obviously he guarded the two best players in our league and he shut them down."

Coleman scored 18 points, participated in two blocks and made a key steal leading to a fast break layup that made it 77-63 with 2 :10 to play.

"I tried to lock in as much as possible, help my team out on the defensive end trying to guard Pepper, " Coleman said. "I think that flowed into my offense."

Coleman admittedly was sick during the week. "I was talking about it the other day, " Coleman said. "I think I might, you know, have to stick it out a little longer, being sick for a little longer. I think it helped me."

For the second consecutive game, the'Bows were without point guard JoVon McClanahan, who suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the week.

But UH received a boost from walk-on guard Kody Williams, who scored eight points and energized the offense.

"Kody Williams just goes head down and starts to penetrate, " said assistant coach Brad Davidson, who orchestrates the offense. "I thought (Thursday night ) they played off us a little bit, and we attacked. And tonight they were all over the ball at the point of attack. And rather than pass the ball around, we went earlier, and it worked for us."

In a chill-veined display of marksmanship, the'Bows swished nine of 11 3-point shots to take a 45-35 lead into the intermission.

Forward Justin McKoy, who sparked the'Bows' overtime victory on Thursday, made all three of his shots from behind the arc in a 13-point first half.

Tom Beattie came off the bench to bury two 3s in as many attempts in the opening half.

"I thought Hawaii played great, " UCD coach Jim Les said. "They were the aggressor tonight. To the aggressor the game gives it back to you. They were 9-for-11 in the first half, and some of those we made some miscues. But I thought they were the aggressor from the start. That was the difference."

Down 29-24, UH center Bernardo da Silva banked a shot while falling to the hardwood. He made the ensuing free throw, and then McKoy buried a 3 to give the 'Bows a 30-29 lead. After Pepper hit a jumper, the'Bows reeled off 12 unanswered points to take control. McKoy hit two 3s and Beattie made a trey during that run.

Coleman hit a 3 as time expired in the first half.

Da Silva scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the'Bows. McKoy finished with 17 points.