History was made on Saturday night as the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team won its first four conference road games for the first time, beating Cal Poly 75-60 at the Mott Athletics Center in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
The win gave the ‘Bows (18-3, 7-1) a share of the Big West Conference lead with UC Irvine, setting up a showdown this Thursday against the Anteaters at the Stan Sheriff Center. The 7-1 start to the league season is also the best since the 2001-02 NCAA Tournament team that went 11-1 before losing its second game.
Stefan Jankovic nearly recorded his second straight double double with 19 points and nine rebounds. Roderick Bobbitt added 15 points and six assists and Aaron Valdes put up 14 points in his second straight start.
Reese Morgan led the Mustangs (8-14, 2-6 BWC) with 10 points and Jaylen Shead added nine points and five assists.
Jankovic provided the offense early, scoring UH’s first seven points including a three-point play to help the ‘Bows to a 7-4 lead. Mike Thomas hit his first jumper to extend the lead to 11-7, but the ‘Bows would get sloppy with the ball and see Ridge Shipley hit back-to-back three pointers to give the Mustangs the lead.
Cal Poly would extend the lead to five points before an 11-2 Rainbow Warrior run gave the ‘Bows a 25-21 lead. Niko Filipovich had a bucket and a three-point play during the spurt. Cal Poly responded with seven straight points and the two teams headed to halftime deadlocked at 28-28.
UH opened the second half on a 9-0 run and never looked back. Cal Poly would threaten on multiple occasions but the ‘Bows would never give up the lead. Taylor Sutlive hit a three-pointer to shave the lead to two points but Bobbitt and Sai Tummala responded with threes of their own to push the lead back up to double digits. The Mustangs again cut into the lead but a quick 7-0 burst lifted the lead to 13 points with under six minutes to play.