HONOLULU, O'ahu – Senior guard Marcellus Garrick (above) scored a team leading 15 points, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program failed to bridge a second-half deficit versus Hawai'i Thursday evening and dropped a 75-54 decision inside the Stan Sheriff Center.
Senior guard Donovan Fields and sophomore wing Mark Crowe added 11 points apiece for Cal Poly (5-18, 1-9), which cut its second-half deficit to nine points on three occasions versus Hawai'i (15-9, 6-4) before the Warriors pushed their lead back to double digits each occasion.
Sophomore forward Karlis Garoza contributed eight points for Cal Poly, which was held to a 37.7 (20-for-53) percent field goal mark. Hawai'i, meanwhile, shot 51.8 (29-for-56) percent and knocked down eight of 15 three-point attempts.
Cal Poly returns to the mainland to visit Big West Conference leader UC Irvine on Thursday, Feb. 21. Tip time from the Bren Center is 7 p.m.
Despite holding Hawai'i to a 1-for-6 shooting start, the Mustangs found themselves trailing 9-8 after the opening seven-and-a-half minutes. Hawai'i then needed just 93 seconds to reel off a 6-0 run and extend the lead to 15-8.
Junior forward Kuba Niziol stemmed Hawai'i's run with a three-pointer from the left corner, but Cal Poly was then held scoreless for a seven-minute span as the Warriors pushed their advantage to 20-11 with four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the opening half.
Cal Poly, however, cut its deficit to five points on successive possessions, quenching the scoring drought through baskets from Garrick and Fields. Still trailing 25-15 with 94 seconds to play in the half, Cal Poly received a Crowe layup and two Fields free throws down the stretch to trail at the break, 26-19.
Hawai'i began the second half with a 10-2 run, a sprint punctuated by back-to-back three-pointers from guards Brocke Stepteau and Drew Buggs that handed the hosts a 36-21 lead.
The Warriors still held a 15-point cushion with 11 minutes to play when Crowe sank three-pointers on consecutive possessions to shorten Cal Poly's gap to 46-37 with 10 minutes remaining.
Cal Poly trimmed its deficit to nine points twice more, the second instance coming at 55-46 with five minutes to play after Fields rolled in a layup. Hawai'i, however, responded with back-to-back three-pointers to keep the Mustangs at bay.