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2015 Big West Tournament Quarterfinal Recap: Hawaii Pulls Upset, Rest Chalk

Hawaii pulled Thursday's lone upset in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament. UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis all move on to what should be an exciting semifinal round.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Aggies come from behind to take care of the Matadors

It's one and done for the CS-Northridge Matadors (9-24, 4-12) who were looking for their biggest victory of the year. What could have been disastrous for the UC Davis Aggies (25-5, 14-2) instead woke up or scared Big West Player of the Year Corey Hawkins enough to score 13 of his 15 points in the final half.

Although the Aggies struggled in the first half -- possibly the nerves of a team who last year was dead last with four wins and did not even qualify for the tournament -- it got an X-factor contribution from senior guard Josh Ritchart who scored 21 points to lead all Davis scorers.

Northridge fell into old habits by not putting the Aggies away, turning the ball over 18 times, 11 of them steals by the Aggies. Northridge couldn't overcome that inconsistency, one that was a flaw of the team all season.

The highlight of the night for the Matadors came from the bench play of sophomore guard Aaron Parks who also scored a game-high 21 points.

UC Davis will play Hawaii in the first semifinal game of the Big West Tournament.

Final Score: UC Davis 71, CS Northridge 67

Hawaii shoots their way into the semifinals

For the first time since 2009, the Long Beach State 49ers (16-17, 10-6) failed to reach the semifinals of the Big West Tournament. The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (21-12, 8-8) earned their first win in the Big West Tournament in three attempts, beating the 49ers 79-72.

Hawaii jumped to an early first half lead on the 49ers, growing it as large as 12 points. The Rainbow Warriors scored 47 first half points, the second-most points Long Beach State has given up in a first half this season.

The 49ers never lost composure and remained tough, ending the first half down just six points at 47-41. Michael Caffey was truly sensational for Long Beach State in the first half, scoring 21 points. Hawaii's Aaron Valdes scoreded 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

It was during the second half where Hawaii really showed why they are a serious contender in the Big West Tournament this year. The Rainbow Warriors started using their full court pressure defense, resulting in six steals, part of eight total Long Beach State turnovers in the half.

Long Beach State didn't have an answer for the defense and couldn't get in rhythm as a team offensively. Despite that, David Samuels had 16 points and eight rebounds in the game. Caffey's monster first half and Samuels' monster second half were not enough to put away the Rainbow Warriors.

Hawaii will play the top-seeded UC Davis Aggies on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Pacific in the semifinals.

Final Score: Hawaii 79, Long Beach State 72

Gauchos exorcise demons, beat Mustangs

The defending Big West Conference Tournament champion Cal Poly Mustangs (13-16, 6-10) looked to "shock the world" again as the 7-seed in the Big West Tournament.

Just like in 2014, the Mustangs would have to go through the 2-seed, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (19-12, 11-5).
This time around, the story wasn't the same. The Gauchos, led by Alan Williams, came out of the gate hungry and led 27-22 at the half.

Cal Poly got within two points multiple times down the stretch but it just wasn't meant to be for the defending champs.

Williams finished with a team-high 19 points for the Gauchos, while Brian Bennett kept the Mustangs in it throughout, with a valiant 20-point effort in the loss.

It was the 6th win in a row for UCSB and it will play UC Irvine in Friday night's semifinal matchup.

UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine split the regular season meetings so one can bet it'll come down to the wire Friday night.

Final Score: UC Santa Barbara 54, Cal Poly 50

Anteaters fend off pesky Highlanders

The UC Irvine Anteaters (19-12, 11-5) had the perfect defense to hold off the UC Riverside Highlanders (14-17, 6-9) during the quarterfinals.

UC Riverside had to contend with the top 3-point defense in the league, and connected on just 2 of 17 attempts from the 3-point line. It stopped the Highlanders for having an answer for UCI's Will Davis II.

Davis finished with a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) with most of the damage coming in the second half as the Anteaters pulled away Riverside late.

Despite a terrific outing for UC Riverside in the paint, poor 3-point shooting and free throw shooting cost the Highlanders in their fourth consecutive loss.

The Highlanders will have to regroup and focus on next season. The Highlanders are expected to return more than over 60 percent of their point production including top scorers Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland. Coach Dennis Cuts -- who had a Coach of the Year performance -- will also return.

It should be an entertaining rematch between the Anteaters and the Gauchos in Friday's semifinals.

Final Score: UC Irvine 63, UC Riverside 54