NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team split a Big West series with the California State-Northridge Friday and Saturday afternoon.
The ‘Bows dramatically won the first game but nearly blew a comfortable 12-point lead with four minutes left to play in regulation.
Hawai’i struggled to contain the Big West Conference-leading scorer TJ Starks in the final four minutes of their 75-74 road victory over the Matadors Friday afternoon.
Starks was the primary catalyst behind a 17-3 rally, eventually sank a three-point basket that gave Northridge a 74-72 advantage with 46 seconds left in the game.
However, Biwali Bayles’ sank a 3-point basket with 22 seconds left in the game, which allowed the ‘Bows to capture the victory.
Hawai’i (8-8, 6-8 Big West) had plenty of players score in double digits including James Jean-Marie, Casdon Jardine, and Noel Coleman, who finished the game with a combined 32 points.
Hawai’i’s inability to contain Starks nearly got them swept.
Starks finished with a game-high 31 points, nearly outscoring the ‘Bows three leading scorers by himself.
Hawai’i struggled to contain Starks in the second game, as he poured in another game-high 28 points, combining for 59 points in the two games on the series.
The ‘Bows fell to the Matadors 88-80 in a game that took an overtime to decide the issue.
Hawai’i received help from their supporting cast including Casdon Jardine, who finished with a team-high 22, while Bayles and Coleman finished with 15 each.
Starks had plenty of offensive support from his other teammates as Darius Brown finished with 18 and Alex Merkviladze scored 15 to get the overtime conference victory.
The Matador outscored the ‘Bows in the second half of the game and carried their established momentum in the first half to complete the rally in overtime.
Cal State Northridge (8-9, 4-6 Big West) outscored Hawai’i 13-5 during the overtime period.
During the overtime period, the ‘Bows shot only 25% from the floor to The Matadors’ 66.7%, were outrebounded 6-2 in the period, and held the lead in overtime for a total of 4:22.
Hawai’i will play Long Beach State Feb. 25-26 at 7 p.m. and 5 p.m. at The SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.