Despite having nothing to play for in terms of seeding for the Big West tournament, the Hawaii men’s basketball team cobbled together a 71-59 win over Cal State Fullerton in the teams’ regular-season finale at Titan Gym tonight.
Brocke Stepteau had a huge second half for the second time in three days. The senior guard poured in 15 of his 21 points after intermission as fourth-place UH (18-14, 9-7 BWC) went from down one at halftime to up double figures down the stretch. He shot 5-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-4 on 3s.
Stepteau, with 34 consecutive free throws made spanning multiple games, broke Zane Johnson’s program record of 29.
It was the second straight year the Rainbow Warriors won at Fullerton just before the tournament. UH knew before the game it was locked into the No. 4 seed thanks to its win at UC Davis on Thursday. Its opponent, No. 5 Long Beach State, was also decided.
The Rainbows rested junior guard Eddie Stansberry and freshman center Dawson Carper. But UH had enough firepower to get it done, as forward Zigmars Raimo scored 12 points with six rebounds and point guard Drew Buggs scored nine with seven boards. Forward Jack Purchase contributed nine points, six rebounds and four assists.
Buggs hit a one-legged, running 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to get UH within 34-33 at intermission.
Second-place Fullerton (14-16, 10-6) was led by forward Jackson Rowe, who scored 16. Guard Kyle Allman struggled in the second half and finished with all of his 10 points in the first 20 minutes, shooting 4-for-15 for the game. Off guard Khalil Ahmad scored 11.
UH and LBSU play at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday.