BYU-Hawaii flies into West title game
Seasiders down Anchorage, one win away from Elite Eight
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Guard Tsung-Hsien Chang and forward Rory Patterson scored 26 and 22 points, respectively, propelling seventh-seed Brigham Young-Hawaii to a 100-91 win against Alaska Anchorage in the first semifinal game of the NCAA Division II Men’s West Regional tournament Saturday at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Seasiders (19-8) will play in the West Region championship game Monday night at 7 p.m. against either eighth-seed Seattle Pacific or fourth-seed Dixie State. It is the fourth year in a row the Hawaiian school has reached the regional championship game. They lost to Alaska Anchorage in the 2008 title game and to Cal Poly Pomona in both the 2009 and 2010 championship contests.
Chang converted on seven of 15 shots and 10 of 11 free throws, while Patterson made seven of 10, including four of six three-pointers. Jake Dastrup, who had 14 points, also hit four treys in 10 attempts.
Also in double figures for BYU-Hawaii was Okesene Ale who came off the bench to score 15 points and Marques Whippy who had 12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks.
Alaska Anchorage (24-10), which was the tournament’s sixth seed, was led by guard Mario Gill, who had a career-high 24 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Gill had 20 points and seven rebounds in Friday’s 76-70 win over Humboldt State.
UAA also got 22 points from forward Brandon Walker, who made five of 11 three-point shots, 16 from Casey Robinson who was three of seven from the arc and 10 from center Taylor Rohde.
The three-point shot played a prominent role for both teams. BYU-Hawaii made seven of 14 in the first half in building a 44-26 lead at the break while holding the Seawolves to just two in 12 attempts.
“They (UAA) do a great job on defense, but we were able to take the ball inside and then kick it out and we got four or five easy threes (in building the lead in the first half),” BYU-Hawaii coach Ken Wagner said.
The Seasiders didn’t slow down early in the second half, either, going up by 26 (64-38) with 14:10 remaining following a pair of free throws by Patterson.
UAA began to chip away at that point, climbing to within 14 with 8:20 left following a three-pointer by Gill at 8:40 and a lay-up by Gill at 8:20.
Later, UAA closed the gap to 11 (88-77) on a trey by Walker at 4:03. Twice, the Seawolves pulled to within 10 in the final 2 ½ minutes, but they didn’t cut the margin to single digits until Casey Robinson hit a trey with five seconds left to establish the final margin.
UAA was 10 of 21 from the arc in the second half finishing with 12 three-pointers in 33 attempts. Meanwhile the Seasiders finished 11 of 26 from the arc.
“Our defense wasn’t great, but they executed and hit shots,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said. “They just outplayed us and out shot us.”