Stefan Jankovic posted his third double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, Mike Thomas added a career-high 13 rebounds and the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team opened Big West Conference play with an 86-73 win over Cal Poly, Wednesday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Roderick Bobbitt had a game-high 21 points after a slow start and Aaron Valdes added 20 points of his own to help UH (12-2, 1-0 BWC) win its first league opener since 2012. Struggling for most of the season at the free throw line, UH was helped tremendously by a 34-42 performance from the charity stripe.
Reese Morgan led the Mustangs (6-8, 0-1 BWC) with 17 points and David Nwaba added 12 points and eight rebounds.
The 'Bows couldn't shake the pesky Mustangs in the second half, building double-digit leads on multiple occasions only to see Cal Poly make a game of it. Taylor Sutlive (11 pts, 4 ast) cut the lead to two points with seven minutes to play, but quality free throw shooting and ball movement leading to a wide open Valdes three-pointer with just over four minutes to play keyed the win.
Cal Poly had it working to start the game, going on an early 10-2 run. After scoring the games first points, UH would not hit another shot until Isaac Fleming's three pointer cut the lead to 14-8 six minutes into the game.
Another jumper by Fleming (12 pts, 5 ast) and a three-point play from Jankovic shaved the Cal Poly lead to 23-22, then Bobbitt hit on a pair of free throws to give the 'Bows their first lead since the opening seconds.
Cal Poly would maintain the lead until late in the half until a quick 7-0 spurt and buckets on four straight trips down the floor helped UH take a six-point lead, its largest of the game to that point. Cal Poly would stem the tide as Morgan connected on a pair of threes and the two teams headed to the locker room tied at 37-37.
UH closes out its Big West opening home stand on Saturday, Jan. 9 against UC Santa Barbara. Tip-off at the Stan Sheriff Center is set for 7:00 p.m.
Hawaii Athletics Release
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