comscore Defense helps Rainbow Warriors improve to 4-0 in Big West | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Defense helps Rainbow Warriors improve to 4-0 in Big West

Another opponent held to fewer than 60 points meant another win for the surging University of Hawaii men’s basketball team.

Bernardo da Silva led four Rainbow Warriors in double figures with 14 points and UH held Cal Poly to 33 percent shooting from the field and 22 total points in the second half to win 69-56 on Saturday night at the Mott Athletics Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Hawaii (9-5 overall) never trailed against the Mustangs (4-12, 1-4) to extend its winning streak to five and is now 4-0 in Big West Conference play for the first time since 2016.

UH snapped a three-game losing streak at Cal Poly by holding its fourth consecutive opponent under 60 points.

“I thought our guys did a really nice job defensively,” Hawaii coach Eran Ganot said in a phone interview after the game. “Our separation over the last five games or so has been on the defensive end. There’s been a lot of talk about the way we share the ball and the way we shoot the ball, but the separation has come from the way we have been able to defend.”

Jerome Desrosiers and Noel Coleman, the Big West’s second-leading scorer, added 12 points apiece, and Kamaka Hepa chipped in 11 points and six rebounds.

Cal Poly sophomore Camren Pierce and Alimamy Koroma, the Mustangs’ leading scorer, tied for a game-high 16 points but combined to shoot just 9-for-28 from the field.

Cal Poly shot 33 percent (18-for-54) for the game and was just 3-for-14 from the 3-point line.

“It’s a credit to these guys, to be honest,” Ganot said. “I think JoVon (McClanahan) did a really nice job of setting the tone for us. Pierce got loose on us in the first half, and credit to JoVon for sticking to that matchup.”

Hawaii jumped on Cal Poly early, opening the game with a 13-4 run and was on pace to score 100 after the first 10 minutes.

The Rainbow Warriors made their first four attempts from 3 and led by as many as 16 with seven minutes to go before going cold down the stretch.

Cal Poly held UH without a point over the final 5:07 of the half and Julien Franklin’s two-handed dunk on a fast break capped an 11-0 Mustangs run to pull within two at 36-34 at the break.

“There was a stretch there where they made a run and we compounded the problem, I think, by getting away from what we do,” Ganot said. “When they made their run, which teams will do when they are (at home), we hurt ourselves. We took some bad shots, which is not what we normally do.”

Cal Poly managed just two points in the first seven minutes of the second half and UH eventually took its largest lead after the break at 56-42 on a putback by Desrosiers with 6:49 remaining.

A 3 by McClanahan began the 8-0 run to stretch the lead to 14, and his defense helped hold Pierce to 1-for-10 shooting in the second half.

The Mustangs cut it to seven before a Desrosiers jumper in the paint elevated the lead back to nine — Cal Poly never got any closer.

UH can match its best start in Big West play with a win at home Thursday against Cal State Northridge.

Comments (3)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up