Hawaii Downs Depleted SMU Squad, 71-59
HONOLULU (AP) -- Jake Sottos scored 17 points off the bench to lead Hawaii to a 71-59 victory over SMU in a Western Athletic Conference match-up Thursday night.
Matt Gibson had 14 points and Jeff Blackett added 13 for Hawaii (10-2, 2-2).
The Mustangs (7-6, 2-3) played without leading scorer Bryan Hopkins, due to a sprained wrist and guard Derrick Roberts, who injured his knee earlier in the week and did not make the trip. Playing without two starters, the Mustangs still rallied from their poor first half performance and cut the deficit to 10 late in the second half on two free throws by Patrick Simpson with 2:38 remaining. Sottos answered for Hawaii with a basket on the next play to give Hawaii a 67-55 lead.
Down by 25 at one point in the second half, the Mustangs went on a 16-4 run over a 10-minute span to close the gap to 56-43 with 7:29 remaining.
Julian Sensley then hit two free throws for Hawaii and Matthew Gipson added two more on the next possession after he stole the ball and was fouled going to the basket. Sensley stole the ball on the next play which led to a 3-pointer by Sottos that made it 63-43 with 6:23 left.
Sottos sparked an 11-4 run in the first half with a 3-pointer and two free throws as Hawaii took a 46-23 halftime lead.
SMU's Eric Castro, the WAC's leader in field goal percentage at 64 percent, shot 5-of-21 from the field and finished with 11 points. Simpson posted a double-double, with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Devon Pearson scored a game-high 24.
The Mustangs next travel to San Jose, Calif. to face San Jose State Saturday night at 4:00 p.m. central time. The Spartans enter Saturday's contest with a 4-9 mark after defeating Louisiana Tech, 88-87, at home Thursday.