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Cal Poly edges Hawaii in overtime

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Reese Morgan made a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in overtime as Cal Poly beat host Hawaii 61-57 in the Big West conference opener for both schools.

Morgan also had a clutch steal and hit a 3-pointer in overtime.

Aaron Valdes scored 20 points to lead Hawaii.

Valdes’ steal led to a layup by Roderick Bobbitt for UH’s final points and lead with 38 seconds left in overtime before Morgan scored the final five points.

Brian Bennett scored 20 points to lead the Mustangs, and Morgan had 17 after hitting a pair of free throws to ice it with 2.7 seconds left.

The Rainbow Warriors trailed most of the game but rallied behind defense and Valdes’ scoring to take temporary control with an 18-4 run midway through the second half.

Hawaii fell to 12-5 overall and Cal Poly improved to 8-5  in front of a crowd of 4,817 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Bobbitt’s dribble drive ended up out of bounds with 5 seconds left, and Morgan’s long miss for Poly at the buzzer sent the game to overtime.

UH took its first lead since 2-0 in the opening minutes on a dunk by Valdes to make it 43-42 with 7:19 left in the game. That came after Valdes’ 3-pointer started a streak of nine UH points.

 Bennett and Morgan then each hit two free throws and Hawaii’s lead was cut to 47-46 with 3:25 left. Morgan’s  3-pointer then gave Poly the lead back, 49-47. But that, too, was temporary.

Valdes hit a free throw to make it 49-48, and Negus Webster-Chan added a 3-pointer with 1:50 left to put Hawaii up 51-49.

Bennett scored to tie it at 51 and was fouled by Mike Thomas, his fifth, with 1:16 left. Bennett missed the free throw and UH got the rebound.

The Mustangs led 30-23 after a rough-and-tumble first half full of errant shooting in which the team combined for 25 fouls and Cal Poly shot for 35 percent from the floor while the Rainbows made just 24 percent.

Bennett scored eight before the break to lead the Mustangs while Webster-Chan and Valdes had five each for UH.

Bobbitt was the only Rainbow to make more than one shot from the floor in the first half, with two.

Hawaii played without starting guard Garrett Nevels. The senior captain underwent surgery to repair a ligament on his right hand.

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