SAN LUIS OBISPO – Senior guard Ridge Shipley (top) led three Cal Poly men's basketball players in double-digit scoring figures with 16 points Saturday evening, but the Mustangs never led versus Hawai'i and dropped an 82-61 decision inside Mott Athletics Center.
Junior guard Victor Joseph added 15 points and sophomore guard Donovan Fields finished with 14 for Cal Poly (8-18, 3-9), which nearly erased a 15-point first-half deficit before trailing by double digits a majority of the second half. The Mustangs shot just 37.7 (23-for-61) percent from the floor while Hawai'i (13-13, 7-6) finished with a 50.9 (29-for-57) percent mark and knocked down 13 three-pointers.
The Mustangs committed just seven turnovers, but were outrebounded, 42-30.
Senior guard Kyle Toth converted all three of his three-point attempts to finish with nine points for the Mustangs
Cal Poly hits the road for the final time during the regular season when visiting Long Beach State (Thursday, Feb. 23) and UC Riverside (Saturday, Feb. 25).
Hawai'i leapt out to a 9-2 lead after just two minutes Saturday evening before three-pointers on successive possessions from guards Noah Allen and Leland Green stretched the Warrior advantage to 20-9 15 minutes before halftime.
The fourth of Hawai'i's eight first-half three-pointers – this one by forward Jack Purchase – then moved the Warriors into a 27-12 lead. Cal Poly, however, responded by holding the Warriors to just one Allen field goal during a five-minute span and – with a 14-2 run – the Mustangs closed their gap to 29-26 with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half.
Twice Cal Poly moved within two points of Hawai'i's lead but, still trailing 37-35 two minutes before the break, Cal Poly received just two Joseph free throws down the stretch and found itself down 44-37 at halftime.
The Mustangs opened the second half with Shipley knocking down a jumper and Joseph finishing a layup, but that was as close as Cal Poly came the remainder of the evening. Down 44-41, the Mustangs conceded three-pointers to Allen and Purchase before guard Gibson Johnson hit a layup to bring Hawai'i's lead back to double digits.
Facing a 65-52 deficit with just under nine minutes to play, Cal Poly was limited to just one field goal during an ensuing six-minute span.