A gritty performance carried the Hawaii basketball team to a 75-54 Big West win over Cal Poly tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
A Valentine’s Day crowd of 2,914 saw senior forward Jack Purchase tie the Rainbow Warriors’ career 3-point record of 180, but the team was carried to victory by sophomore point guard Drew Buggs (career-high-tying 17 points, eight assists) and freshman center Dawson Carper (career-high 15 points, 7-for-8 shooting).
UH (15-9, 6-4 Big West) moved into a third-place tie with UC Santa Barbara with six games to play in the regular season. Purchase will go for the outright record against UC Riverside on Saturday.
It was a defensive battle from the outset. UH led 26-19 at halftime, holding the Mustangs to the fewest first-half points of any opponent this season.
The Rainbows finished shooting 51.8 percent to 37.7 percent for the last-place Mustangs (5-18, 1-9).
A 6-0 Mustangs run brought Cal Poly back within nine, but Leland Green got a 3 to rattle in to extend it back to double digits with nine minutes left, followed by a tough fadeaway off the glass and in.
Cal Poly got it back to nine, but Green again turned back the visitors, hitting a 3 falling over.
Purchase tied Zane Johnson’s career mark of 180 with 4:30 remaining on his second official attempt from long range. He was also fouled on a 3 and finished with five points and eight rebounds.
Mustangs leading scorer Donovan Fields fouled out with 11 points with 2:34 remaining.