The Mustangs fell to Hawaii 86-73 on Wednesday night. | Christa Lam/Mustang News

The Cal Poly men’s basketball team (6-8, 0-1) started its 2016 calendar with a Big West Conference matchup at Hawaii (12-2, 1-0) on Wednesday night. Although the Mustangs kept it close in the first half, they couldn’t keep it close enough and lost 86-73 in their first conference matchup of the season.

Senior guard Reese Morgan led the team with 17 points while fellow senior guard David Nwaba scored 12 points along with a team-high eight rebounds. The Mustangs were out-rebounded 40-28 but still matched Hawaii in second chance points (8-8) and points in the paint (24-24).

After tying the game 37-37 right before halftime, the Mustangs were in good form against the conference’s top team. They outshot Hawaii 48 percent to 41 percent and went 5 of 10 from three-point range compared to 2 for 9 for the Rainbow Warriors.

But anything resembling an advantage disappeared in the second half for the Mustangs.

Hawaii shot better than the Mustangs from the field, three-point range and the free-throw line in the second half. The Rainbow Warriors opened up a six-point advantage midway through the second half and turned that into a 13-point victory after ending the game on a 9-2 run.

This matchup was the first of seven conference games this month for the Mustangs. Next up for the Mustangs is a home game against UC Santa Barbara next Thursday at 7 p.m. at Mott Athletic Center.

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