Cal Poly is dangerous road test for Warriors

Hawai’i senior guard Noel Coleman scored a team-high 23 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and one steal in the Warriors’ 83-73 home victory over Cal Poly on Jan. 27. (Chris Kadooka file photo)

Winless … does not mean hopeless.

The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team understands that is the case with Thursday’s road opponent, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which is 4-21 overall and 0-13 in the Big West Conference.

The Warriors (14-11, 6-7) will face the Mustangs at 5 p.m. (Hawai’i time) Thursday, with the game being livestreamed on ESPN + and broadcast via radio on ESPN Honolulu 1420AM.

UH defeated Cal Poly at home, 83-73, on Jan. 27, but the Mustangs finished that game strong and apparently have improved since then. They are coming off a 77-68 loss at Long Beach State last Saturday after trailing 39-35 at halftime.

Cal Poly senior guard Jarred Hyder, a transfer from Cal who missed three weeks in January due to injury, scored a team-high 21 points on 7 for 9 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.

“Cal Poly has been coming on, they had Long Beach on the ropes,” Warriors coach Eran Ganot said. “When we played them last time, Hyder had just gotten healthy, and he’s working his way back.”

Hawai’i forward Justin McKoy, who is the reigning Big West Player of the Week, said the Warriors respect then challenge that the Mustangs present.

“I think, first of all, Cal Poly is a really good team,” McKoy said. “I know their record doesn’t show it right now, but they fight. They’re playing teams at the top of the conference, and they’re not losing by a lot. That’s a team we really need to watch out for.”

In the loss at Hawai’i, the Mustangs trailed 64-46 with 3:56 remaining, but used fullcourt pressure and a flurry of 3-pointers to end up losing by 10.

“In that game, we were so disappointed in our 3-point defense,” Ganot said. “But league play is very humbling.”

The Warriors learned that lesson early on, with their worst Big West start (2-6) since joining the conference in 2013. But they have responded with four wins in their past five games, including impressive home victories over UC San Diego (94-86 in OT) and UC Davis (87-70) last week. Those teams had been in second place when UH faced them.

“We took a step,” Ganot said. “We’ve got a long way to go, there’s a lot of games left to be played. But we took a step in the right direction. We’ve always wanted our guys to play aggressive and attacking … I know we’ve been navigating personnel situations and figuring out this group. It’s a step in the right direction, something we build off (of). We’ve practiced well, we put ourselves in position to give ourselves a chance here down the stretch.

“But we’ve got more work to do, and our guys are gonna continue to put in the work.”

Ironically, the Warriors’ resurgence has come despite two significant injuries: Backup center Mor Seck’s torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which puts him out for the season, and point guard JoVon McClanahan’s injured right shoulder, which caused him to sit out the past two games.

McClanahan’s arm was in a sling during the UC San Diego game on Feb. 8, but the sling was absent last Saturday.

Ganot said on Monday that McClanahan’s status is being monitored day-to-day, and he hopes to have him available soon.


  1. UC Irvine (11-2)
  2. UC Davis (10-3)
  3. UC San Diego (9-3)
  4. Long Beach State (7-5)
  5. Cal State Northridge (7-6)
  6. UC Santa Barbara (6-7)
  7. HAWAI’I (6-7)
  8. Cal State Bakersfield (5-8)
  9. UC Riverside (5-8)
  10. Cal State Fullerton (4-8)
  11. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (0-13)

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