The UCR men’s basketball team (6-12, 4-4) fell to the University of Hawai’i (9-11, 4-4), 72-63, in a heated competition on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 2 in the SRC Arena. The Highlanders looked to bounce back from a disappointing loss against Cal State Northridge (10-13, 6-4) on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Unfortunately for Riverside, Hawai’i came out hot and took a quick lead. It also didn’t help that the Highlanders were ice-cold in the first half. The team looked completely out of sorts as nothing could fall for them. The Highlanders were only able to score 18 points off of dismal 27 percent shooting. Hawai’i on the other hand couldn’t seem to miss as they were shooting 55 percent from the field and finished the half with 38 points. While on one side of the floor, Riverside was struggling to find open looks, Hawai’i seemingly got open 3-pointers at will. The Highlanders were unable to gain any momentum in the first half and went into the locker room down by 20.
UCR Head Coach Dennis Cutts must have said something to get his team fired up during the break because after halftime it was a whole different ball game. Riverside came out with a renewed energy that fired up the crowd, immediately igniting a 10-0 run out of halftime to slice the 20-point deficit in half.
Riverside looked like a totally different team in the second half and had a massive 45 points that half compared to only 18 in the first. The Highlanders also converted on an incredibly efficient 18 of 24 field goals in the half. Freshman point guard Dikymbe Martin had his fingerprints all over the second half as he scored 18 of his 21 points after the break, adding another impressive game to his resume, scoring 21 points on 64 percent from the field. He was a major standout on the offensive end particularly due to his ability to create his own shot.
As a team, the Highlanders were more efficient from the field than Hawai’i, but that was one of only two statistical categories that they were able to lead in. The other was in the steals category where Riverside had the edge by four. Hawai’i also shot around 48 percent from deep while Riverside’s percentage plummeted to 25 percent from three.
The Highlanders’ next game will be in the SRC Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. against UC Irvine.