HONOLULU – The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team rode the hot hand of Noah Allen and clamped down defensively in a 78-56 win over UC Santa Barbara Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Allen scored a career-high 34 points – his second 30-point performance in the last four games –to help UH get back in the win column after two straight home losses. UH also got it done on the defensive end of the court, limiting UCSB to just 29 percent shooting, a season-low for a UH opponent.
The Rainbow Warriors improved to 9-11 overall and 3-4 in the Big West. After four straight nail biters, UH enjoyed its most comfortable win of the year against a Division I opponent to end its five-game homestand with a 3-2 mark. The Gauchos (3-16, 1-6 BWC), meanwhile dropped their fourth straight contest.
UH was down 10-7 early, but went on a 9-0 run to seize the lead. It was lead they wouldn't relinquish. The 'Bows shot 52 percent in the first half and when Leland Green converted at the buzzer, UH took a 37-29 lead into the locker room. Allen fueled the team with 15 points in the first frame.
UH broke the game open in the second half with a 15-1 run that saw their lead balloon to 22 points. Allen scored nine straight to start the game's decisive run. The senior forward finished the game 11-of-14 from the floor, 9-of-9 from the line, and drained a trio of three-pointers. He also added eight rebounds to fall just two boards shy of a double-double.
Allen was the only Rainbow Warrior to finish in double figures, though 11 players got in the scoring column for UH. Freshman center Ido Flaisher provided UH with a boost off the bench with eight points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in the second half.
The Rainbow Warrior defense stepped up in the second half as the Gauchos shot just 5-of-25 (20 percent) after the break. In the end, UH dominated in nearly every category, out-scoring the Gauchos 30-10 in the paint and 18-5 in points of off turnovers. The 'Bows also won the battle of the boards, 39-27.
The Rainbow Warriors next head to the road for a two-game swing through California, beginning with a matchup at UC Riverside on Thursday, February 4. Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. PT/6:00 p.m. HT.
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