HONOLULU – The Stan Sheriff Center was the scene of several special performances on Saturday. Aaron Valdes recorded just the third triple double in program history (16 pts, 15 reb, 11 ast), Roderick Bobbitt went over 30 points for the third time in the last four games and the University of Hawai’i men’s basketball team cruised by Howard with a 94-59 win.
Bobbitt (31 pts) also nailed seven three pointers, six in the first half, for a new personal best and Quincy Smithequaled a career-high of 15 points on 7-11 shooting. The game was the final one for the ‘Bows (11-2) heading into Big West Conference play.
James Daniel provided the offense for the Bison (7-8), shooting 8-24 from the floor to reach his NCAA leading average of 29 points. Solomon Mangham added 13 points on 5-8 from the field.
The ‘Bows struggled early in breaking down Howard’s zone defense, but the shots began to fall and did so in a big way. Bobbitt nailed back-to-back threes to help UH to a 13-0 run and force a Howard timeout. The run continued out of the break as Valdes cruised in for a reverse dunk off a steal as UH opened up a 20-point first-half lead.
The Bison would not go quietly though, taking advantage of a cold shooting spell by the ‘Bows to shave the lead to 11 points. Back-to-back three pointers by Daniel and 10 straight points from Mangham brought the score line to just 36-26 with 4:31 to play in the half. Bobbitt began to heat up again though, connecting on two more from downtown as UH took a 14-point lead into the break.
The second half again saw Howard on the verge of cutting the lead to single digits, but the UH defense hunkered down and kept the Bison off the scoreboard for a five-minute span midway through the period. The lead ballooned to over 30 points during that stretch as the ‘Bows won going away.
UH opens conference play at home next week, facing Cal Poly on Wednesday, Jan. 6 then hosting UC Santa Barbara the following Saturday.