A miscue in the final seconds of the game cut Cal Poly Men’s Basketball’s comeback attempt short, resulting in a 65-61 loss to Hawai’i on Thursday, Jan. 16 inside the Stan Sheriff Center.
While Cal Poly(4-13, 1-2 Big West) trailed by as much as 16 points, freshman guard Colby Rogers led all players with a season-high 18 points, helping the Mustangs pull within one point of the Rainbow Warriors (11-6, 2-1) late in the second half.
Hawai’i opened the scoring with a 14-4 run within the first five minutes of the first half. Cal Poly cut the lead to 19-13 exactly midway through the half thanks to a layup by sophomore forward Tuukka Jaakkola. However, the Rainbow Warriors extended their lead to 27-13 after an 8-0 run.
Hawai’i later secured its largest lead of the game at 36-20 with 3:34 remaining in the first half after two made free throws by senior guard Eddie Stansberry. But the Mustangs closed out the half on a 9-2 run, including a three-pointer by Rogers just one second before halftime.
Despite shooting better from the field than Hawai’i, Cal Poly was down 38-29 at the end of the first half. The Mustangs committed 11 turnovers in the first half, compared to the Rainbow Warriors’ six. Hawai’i also outrebounded Cal Poly 29-18 in the first half. The Mustangs did not record an offensive rebound until late in the second half.
Hawai’i opened the second half on a 7-0 run to extend its lead to 45-29. Rogers responded with the Mustangs’ first eight points, including a three-pointer, to cut the lead to 47-37. The Mustangs continued to stay close and cut the lead to 54-50 after a layup by junior guard Keith Smith. Cal Poly cut the lead even further to 58-57 after a free throw by Jaakkola with 3:22 remaining in the game.
Although Cal Poly outscored Hawai’i 32-27 in the second half, the Mustangs could not complete the comeback. Jaakkola hooked in a jump shot to cut the Hawai’i lead to 63-61 with 40 seconds left. A missed shot by Hawai’i guard Drew Buggs gave Cal Poly possession with 12 seconds left, but a mishandled pass from Keith Smith to junior wing Mark Crowe gave the ball back to the Rainbow Warriors. A pair of free throws by Stansberry sealed the Rainbow Warriors’ 65-61 victory.
Freshman forward Kyle Colvin added 11 points and eight rebounds in the road loss while sophomore guard Junior Ballard and Jaakkola each added nine points and four rebounds. While the Mustangs shot 41.5 percent compared to the Rainbow Warriors’ 32.8 percent, the Mustangs were outrebounded 47-35 and committed more turnovers than the Rainbow Warriors (16-12).
Cal Poly will stay on the road for its next game against UC Riverside on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.