(Hawaii Athletics) - In an unusual game that saw a near one-hour delay to the second half, the University of Hawai'i concluded the Big West regular-season strong with a 68-60 road win over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at Titan Gym.
UH finished the regular-season 17-12 overall and 8-8 in the Big West. The Rainbow Warriors will be either the No. 5 or 6 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament, March 8-10 in Anaheim.
UH did the job on both ends of the court to avenge its January loss to the Titans. Kyle Allman, who torched the 'Bows for 40 points in the first meeting, was held to just 18 points on 5-of-14 shooting. The 'Bows also held the Titans to just one made field goal in the final 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, the pair of Drew Buggs and Gibson Johnson scored 15 a piece and drained back-to-back three-pointers late in the game to help seal the road win. Purchase added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Leland Green also finished with 10 points.
After struggling the first half in their last two games—both losses—UH came out strong in the first 20 minutes versus the Titans (17-11, 10-6 BW). UH shot 44 percent from the floor, while also harassing the Titans into nine turnovers to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room.
But then the game was delayed for 55 minutes after a broken piece was discovered on one of the backboards. Despite the second-half delay and the new baskets, both teams came out hot offensively, particularly UH. The 'Bows scored 12 points in the first four minutes of the second half and when Purchase splashed a three-pointer, UH enjoyed its biggest lead at the time, 46-39.
UH went scoreless for nearly seven minutes to let the Titans back into the game and it was knotted up 52-52 with 5:15 left. But UH got five straight points from Buggs, including a corner triple, and Johnson added his own three-pointer with two minutes left to extend UH' lead to 60-52.
After the Titans cut the UH lead to just three with a minute left, it was Buggs and Johnson again who came through. Buggs, who scored eight of this 14 points in the final four minutes, converted on a layup off a Johnson assist with 34 seconds left, and UH was never threatened again.
For the game, UH held Fullerton to just 2-of-17 shooting (11.8 percent) from three and out-rebounded the Titans, 37-33. UH also held the Titans to just 37 percent shooting in the second half.
The 'Bows will now remain on the mainland for the Big West Tournament which begins March 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.