BYU-Hawaii wins first West Region
Seasiders advance to first Elite Eight with win against Dixie St.
ELLENSBURG -- Guard Jake Dastrup led a balanced attack with 18 points and tournament Most Outstanding Player Marques Whippy produced a double-double as Brigham Young-Hawaii earned its first NCAA Division II West Regional title with a 79-73 win against Dixie State on Monday night at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Seasiders (20-8), who were playing in their fourth consecutive West Regional title game, earned the first West Regional title for a PacWest school since Western Washington won the championship in 2001 when the PacWest was a 16-team conference.
Seasider coach Ken Wagner's team came into the tournament as the No. 7 seed.
"I'm really happy for these guys, especially the seniors," Wagner said. "No one was picking us to win it but they (the BYUH players) were focused. We all thought we could win if we did the things we are capable of."
Dastrup made five of nine three-pointers including one during an 11-0 run when the Seasiders overcame an early 19-11 Red Stolead. He also banked in a trey to finish off an 11-1 run to end the first half giving BYU-Hawaii a 13-point lead at the break (44-31).
In the second half, the Red Storm (22-7), which was the tournament’s fourth seed, put together a 14-4 run to climb to within four points (51-47) with 13:49 left, but Dastrup then hit another three and Jet Chang got a lay-up to re-establish a nine-point lead.
Dixie State later climbed to within five on two occasions, including 69-64 with 2:08 remaining, but never got any closer as BYU-Hawaii rebuilt an 11-point lead at 76-65 with 49 seconds left.
Whippy, who finished the tournament with 53 points, 30 rebounds, 12 assists, seven blocks and eight steals, had 10 points and game-highs of 11 rebounds and five assists in the championship game.
It was the fourth straight year Whippy had played in a regional title contest.
"I've been told only two other teams have reached the Sweet 16 in each of the past four years, so that is an incredible accomplishment for Marques," Wagner said.
Also in double figures for BYUH were Chang and Okesene Ale with 14 each, and Rory Patterson with 10.
Dixie State was led by forward Griffon Jones with 25 points. Tom Whitehead and Donovan Plunkett each had 12.
Whitehead and Chang, along with Marcus Gill of Alaska Anchorage and David Downs of Seattle Pacific, joined Whippy on the all-tournament team.
BYU-Hawaii now advances to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, which begins Wednesday, Mar. 23 in Springfield, Mass. The Seasiders will play the East Region champion, either Bloomfield (N.J.) or Bentley (Mass.) in the quarterfinals.