In a back and forth matchup in the Matadome, the Rainbow Warriors came out in the end against the CSUN Matadors 75-74.
In both halves, UH started out strong holding double-digit leads led by guard Junior Madut’s 23 points and 4-7 clip from beyond the arc. Forward James Jean-Marie would start the first half with 7 points, finishing with 11 as the team started to cool down during halftime.
However, the Matadors showed resilience by cutting down those leads, by 2 in the first half and even taking a two-point lead in the final minute of the game. The Big West scoring leader TJ Starks came off the bench with 31 points going 5-8 from downtown.
After Starks gave the Matadors a two-point lead with a three, the ‘Bows had only the shot clock left to do something with the ball. Freshman Biwali Bayles had the ball, and after coming off a screen he pulled up and drained the three off the bank.
After center Mate Colina held strong in the paint, stopping two shots in the final seconds, Hawaiʻi celebrated around Bayles as they look for a bye in the Big West Tournament next month.
The big question going into game 2 tomorrow will be the condition of guard Justin Webster. He started the game, and after going into the locker room for the half he would not come back out.
Game 2 will be in the Matadome in Northridge, tipping off at 2:03 HST tomorrow afternoon.