Senior forward Mike Thomas had just enough horsepower to pull a double-double to help the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warrior basketball team fend off Cal Poly in its Big West home opener, 57-45.
Hawaiʻi (11-5, 2-1 Big West Conference) went 1-1 on the road last week to open up conference play. Cal Poly (6-11, 1-2 BWC) entered as the top three-point shooting team in the conference after making 19 against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 6.
But the game against the 'Bows showed a different side of Cal Poly.
UH got off to a hot start by scoring the game's first seven points, thanks to senior forward Gibson Johnson and freshman guard Drew Buggs. Johnson scored UH's first point on a reverse layup at 19:05 and added a three-pointer at 17:06 to help UH lead 7–0 early on. Cal Poly missed their first three-pointers from behind the arc, but senior forward Luke Meikle's jumper at 15:44 helped them get on the board, 7–2.
Both teams struggled to shoot from 11:14 to 8:06, but Thomas broke the ice with a free throw to put the 'Bows up 14–9. UH went on to score the last six points of the first quarter after Cal Poly rallied to tie the score 23–23 at 1:49. Thomas' jumper at 0:29 closed the first half 29–23.
Junior guard Sheriff Drammeh hit a three-pointer to start off the second half 32–23. The 'Bows had a nine point advantage after Thomas scored on another layup 37–28. The Mustangs closed the gap to four at 39–35 with junior forward Josh Martins' jumper at 11:41. Drammeh's free throw at 0:37 locked in UH's win 57–45. The 'Bows beat the Mustangs for the sixth straight time.
Cal Poly shot 3 for 19 for three-pointers and was 6 for 10 from the field. The Mustangs were led by Victor Joseph with 11 points and 2 steals. Joseph shot 4 for 10 from the field and was 2 for 2 for free throws.
Thomas racked up his fourth double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Drammeh added 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Next up for the 'Bows is UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.