Hawaii extends Big West lead with 75-71 win over UC Irvine

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IRVINE, Calif. (AP) Stefan Jankovic scored 25, Aaron Valdes made the go-ahead 3-pointer late and Hawaii strengthened its lead in the Big West Conference with a 75-71 win over UC Irvine on Saturday night.

The Rainbow Warriors (22-3, 11-1) took the lead for good when their perimeter ball rotation found Valdez open in the right corner. His 3 made it 72-71 with 40.1 seconds left. The Anteaters (20-8, 9-3) dropped into a second-place tie with Long Beach State.

Roderick Bobbitt added a pair of free throws with 10.7 seconds left and Michael Thomas made 1 of 2 with 0.7 seconds to cap the scoring.

Valdes finished with 13 points, Sai Tummala scored 11 and Thomas added 10.

Luke Nelson had 18 points, Mamadou Ndiaye scored 15 and Mike Best 14. UC Irvine led almost the entire second half and responded with an 8-0 run after Hawaii briefly took the lead at 61-60.