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UPDATED: Warriors reach third place with rout of Cal Poly, 75-54

On Valentines Night, the University of Hawai’i basketball team scored a sweet treat in the form of a 75-54 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday.

An announced crowd of 4,995 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the Rainbow Warriors climb into third place in the Big West Conference with the dominating win over the Mustangs.

The Warriors improved to 15-9 overall and 6-4 in the Big West. They are now tied with UC Santa Barbara for third, trailing only UC Irvine (9-1) and Cal State Fullerton (7-3). The Mustangs dropped to 5-18 overall and remained in last place in the conference at 1-9.

“Every win’s big in conference at this time of year as you head into February and March,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “Good to see our team show our potential again defensively more than anything.”

The Warriors took control of the game early, limiting Cal Poly to 26.9 percent shooting (7 for 26) in the first half. By the end of the game, Hawai’i shot 51.8 percent (29 for 56) while Cal Poly shot 37.7 percent (20 for 53).

Hawai’i also out-rebounded the Mustangs, 36-32, and passed for 18 assists with just nine turnovers.

“At the end of the day you did three out of the three big things in terms of defending, rebounding and taking care of the ball,” Ganot said.

Sophomore point guard Drew Buggs led the way with 17 points and eight assists with two turnovers. He shot 6 of 8 from the field and 4 for 4 on free throws. He also spear-headed the Warrior defense, as he was primarily responsible for limiting Cal Poly leading scorer Donovan Fields to 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

“Our defense was pretty good the whole game,” Buggs said. “We did a really good job of containing them. Offensively, they kind of threw us off a little bit in the beginning, but we did a great job making adjustments and competing, and it always feels good to come out on top.”

The surprise of the night was freshman center Dawson Carper. The 7-footer came off the bench to score a season-high 15 points in 15 minutes. He shot 7 for 8 from the field, and also grabbed three rebounds.

“I feel pretty comfortable out there,” Carper said. “We got some great leaders out there … our point guards are doing great, making things easier for me. They set up good ball screens and great passes. That makes things easy for me inside.”

Zigmars Raimo added 10 points, and Leland Green contributed eight points off the bench, including 2-for-3 shooting from 3-point range.

“Leland Green was huge,” Ganot said. “Leland and Dawson off the bench.”

Senior forward Jack Purchase scored just five points but grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. His 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining in the game gave him 180 for his career. That ties the UH career record set by Zane Johnson from 2010-112.

Cal Poly used several defenders to shadow Purchase, and it resulted in him taking a season-low three field goal attempts. However, he played a team-high 33 minutes, mostly because his presence allowed teammates to get open.

“At times there may have been some frustration there with Jack” Ganot said. “But his ability to spread the floor for us was huge … he did a great job overall in the game of letting things happen. That’s why other guys had cracks.”

Hawai’i opened the game by making one of its first five shots, and fell behind 5-2. But the Warriors then went 6 for 7 from the field over the next four minutes to take a 15-8 lead with 10:57 remaining in the first half.

The Warriors eventually took a 26-19 lead at intermission. Carper helped Hawai’i maintain the lead in the first half, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brocke Stepteau and Buggs early in the second half increased the Warriors’ lead to 36-21 with 15:55 remaining. The Mustangs never got closer than nine points the rest of the game.

The Hawai’i reserve players closed out the game. Justin Hemsley and Brandon Thomas each hit a 3-pointer in the final 90 seconds.

Marcellus Garrick led Cal Poly with 15 points, and Fields and Mark Crowe added 11 points each. Fields entered the game averaging 16.0 points per game.

The Warriors will remain at home to host UC Riverside in another Big West game on Saturday night. The Highlanders upset UC Santa Barbara, 71-57, on Thursday night in Riverside, Calif.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

(Game photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

CLICK HERE to view photo gallery

Big West Conference
Thursday’s Results
at UC Riverside 71, UC Santa Barbara 57
at Hawai’I 75, Cal Poly 54

Saturday’s Games
Cal State Fullerton at CSUN
Long Beach State at UC Davis
UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine
UC Riverside at Hawai’i

2 Comments

  1. Very good win. Carper is quietly becoming the big man this team needed for a long time. I like his future.

  2. Eddie, Eddie, ! Come On Eddie You can do it , get out of your funk and focus. We need your scoring ability Saturday Night! Riverside beat your butts bad Warriors , it’s time to show up and play two good halves and knock this team back to the mainland! Warrior Time brothers!

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