SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly made its first eight three-pointers of the game and exploded for 50 second-half points to turn a seven-point halftime deficit into a 78-64 victory over Hawai'i in a Big West Conference men's basketball game Saturday night before 2,703 inside Mott Athletics Center.
Junior guard Donovan Fields scored 15 points while senior forward Luke Meikle, junior forward Jakub Niziol and senior guard Victor Joseph (pictured above) each added 12 points as Coach Joe Callero's Mustangs beat the Rainbow Warriors for the first time in seven meetings and improved to 8-15 for the season and 3-6 in Big West games for seventh place alone.
Hawai'i, which fell to 13-8 overall and 4-4 for sixth place in the Big West, was led by Sheriff Drammeh with 17 points. Jack Purchase added 12 points and Drew Buggs 10.
Trailing 35-28 at the break, Cal Poly opened the second half with a 16-2 run for a 44-37 lead with 16:02 remaining. Field capped the spurt with a field goal.
Hawai'i climbed back on top in the next four minutes and led 52-48 with 11:11 left on a layup by Buggs, but Meikle hit a jumper with 8:20 to go, giving Cal Poly a lead it would never relinquish at 55-54.
The Mustangs went on a 13-0 run to build a 64-54 cushion with 5:32 to play and Hawai'i never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Cal Poly outrebounded Hawai'i 41-24, the largest margin on the boards for the Mustangs this season. Junior forwards Josh Martin and Aleks Abrams led the way with seven caroms each. Gibson Johnson notched seven boards for Hawai'i.
Joseph, who now has 19 double-digit scoring games this season, added five assists while Fields reached double figures for the 16th time and Meikle nine.
Cal Poly was 11 of 16 from long range (69 percent), its highest since shooting a school-record 80 percent (12 of 15) at CSUN in 2013. The Mustangs' 8-for-8 start Saturday was its best since sinking their first 11 three-pointers, also against CSUN, in 2012.
Sophomore center Hank Hollingsworth blocked two Hawai'i shots and now has 76 career blocks in 52 games, fourth all-time in the Cal Poly record book.
The Mustangs were 17 of 18 from the free throw line, second only to their 11-for-11 performance against College of Charleston earlier this season. Fields was 9-for-9 from the charity stripe and is now 63 of 68 this season (92.6 percent), among the top five in the nation.
Cal Poly was 48 percent from the floor (25 of 52) while holding Hawai'i to 39 percent (24 of 61). The Rainbow Warriors were 10 of 25 from three-point range (40 percent).
Cal Poly plays its next two Big West games on the road, visiting Cal State Fullerton on Thursday and Long Beach State on Saturday (FOX Prime Ticket).
Photos courtesy of Alexander Bohlen