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UH holds off Riverside in Big West opener

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — James Jean-Marie had a career-high 24 points, including eight straight points during a critical stretch in the second half, as the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team edged past UC Riverside 88-83 on Friday.

Junior Madut added 21 points and seven rebounds for the Rainbow Warriors (3-0). Noel Coleman had 11 points and Justin Webster added 10 points.

It was the first Big West Conference game of the season for both teams. UH’s originally scheduled opening series against Cal Poly last month was canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test in the Mustangs program.

The Rainbow Warriors never trailed in the second half but needed to hold off the Highlanders several times. After taking a 10-point lead, UC Riverside tied the game at 48 with 11 minutes remaining. Behind senior post player Jean-Marie, who was making his first career start, UH eventually rebuilt its lead to 12 points.

Arinze Chidom had 20 points for the Highlanders (3-2). Zyon Pullin added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Flynn Cameron had 12 points and seven rebounds.

The teams play again today.