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Warriors fall at Cal Poly in OT, 79-75; Buggs sets career assists record

The good news is that the University of Hawai’i basketball team is still in second place in the Big West Conference. The not-so-good news is that the Rainbow Warriors suffered a disappointing 79-75 overtime loss at Cal Poly on Saturday.

A crowd of 2,235 at Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif., watched the Mustangs out-score the Rainbow Warriors 7-0 in the final minute of overtime to complete the upset. It also capped a game of furious rallies – Cal Poly used a 17-0 run to erase a 13-point deficit, then Hawai’i answered with a 19-4 run to come back from a 15-point deficit.

The Warriors dropped to 14-8 overall and 5-3 in the Big West with their second consecutive loss. Conference leader UC Irvine also lost on Saturday to drop to 7-2. Cal Poly improved to 7-16 overall and is tied for fifth place in the conference at 4-5.

“This is kind of an unfortunate recurring theme we need to fix and fix now,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “We’re Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We’re two different teams in every game. We have double-digit runs both ways, and it’s gotta stop.”

Sophomore center Dawson Carper had career-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Warriors. He shot 6 of 8 from the field and 8 of 10 on free throws.

“I think that was the best game of his career and you see the potential he has,” Ganot said. “He had an aggressive mindset.”

It was also an historic night for junior point guard Drew Buggs, who became UH’s all-time leader in assists. He finished with 19 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and three assists. He now has 413 career assists, which tops the previous mark of 412 held by Troy Bowe (1988-91).

Freshman guard Justin Webster added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors. His open 3-pointer gave Hawai’i a 75-72 lead with 1:01 remaining in overtime, but it was all Cal Poly in the final minute.

Colby Rogers hit a contested 3-pointer to put the Mustangs up 76-75 with 24 seconds remaining. On Hawai’i’s ensuing possession, Buggs was assessed an offensive foul while driving to the basket. Rogers then drained two free throws with nine seconds remaining to secure the victory.

Junior Ballard led the Mustangs with 15 points. Jamal Smith added 14 points and seven rebounds, and Rogers and Tuukka Jaakkola scored 12 points each.

The Warriors out-rebounded the Mustangs, 48-36, but was ultimately out-shot in the second half. Hawai’i led by as many as 13 in the first half, and had a 39-32 lead at halftime. However, the Warriors shot just 32.5 percent (13 for 40) in the second half and overtime.

In contrast, Cal Poly shot 50 percent (18 for 36) in the second half and overtime, including 57.1 percent (4 for 7) from 3-point range.

Hawai’i trailed early, 9-8, but then went on 7-0 run to take early control at 15-9 with 13:38 remaining in the first half. Later in the half, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run to increase their lead to 29-16 with 8:30 remaining. Hawai’i eventually took a 39-32 lead at intermission, with Carper recording 12 points and five rebounds in the first half.

Cal Poly tied the score at 46 with 14:43 remaining in the second half, and then took its first lead of the second half at 50-48 on a jumper by Ballard with 12:16 remaining. It was part of a stunning 17-0 run by the Mustangs that gave them a 63-48 advantage with 7:43 remaining.

The Warriors went scoreless for more than seven minutes during that decisive stretch, but made up for it over the next seven minutes. Hawai’i responded to Cal Poly’s run with a 19-4 surge to tie the score at 67 with 1:08 remaining. Webster’s 3-pointer as the shot clock expired tied it.

The teams exchanged baskets, in the final minute, sending the game to overtime tied at 69.

The Warriors played their fourth consecutive game without injured starting forwards Samuta Avea and Bernardo da Silva. As a result, Buggs (44 minutes), Webster (41 minutes), Eddie Stansberry (41 minutes) and Carper (27 minutes) all reached career-highs for minutes played.

“Perspective, I’m proud we have three guys playing 40 plus (minutes),” Ganot said. “We just have to get back to work and get healthier and that’s been the theme. I know we’ll have our full unit back, but the mentality has been that we have enough, and we do. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”

The Warriors will return to Honolulu on Sunday, and their next two games will be at home – against Long Beach State on Wednesday, then UC Irvine on Saturday.

CLICK HERE to view boxscore

Big West Conference
Saturday’s Results

at Cal Poly 79, Hawai’i 75 (OT)
at UC Santa Barbara 64, UC Irvine 61
at CSUN 61, UC Riverside 59
UC Davis 87, at Cal State Fullerton 81

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