March 15, 2009

Courtesy of BYU-Hawaii Athletics

Laie, Hi. — The Brigham Young University Hawaii men’s basketball team defeated Cal State-Dominguez Hills tonight, 84-71, in the semifinals of the NCAA II West Sub-Regional in Laie.  West Region Player of the Year Lucas Alves sparked BYU–Hawaii with 27 points and nine rebounds as the 3rd-ranked Seasiders improved to 27-1 and advanced to the regional finals for the second straight year where they will play Cal Poly Pomona either Tuesday or Wednesday night in Laie for the right to advance to the Elite Eight in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The fourth-seeded Toros started the game strong, taking an early 12-5 lead before Alves drained a pair of three-pointers and a couple of free throws to ignite a 12-4 run that put the Seasiders on top 17-16.  Cheered on by a raucous crowd of 2,650 fans, most of them wearing Seasider red, BYU–Hawaii built up a 12-point lead and took a 42-33 halftime advantage into the locker room.

Cal State-Dominguez Hills showed why they tied for first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association this season by fighting their way back into the game in the second half.  The Toros chipped away at the Seasider lead and finally knotted the game at 59-59 with 8:03 to play in the second half on a jumper by senior guard Michael Hernandez.  But the Seasiders own senior guard, Trenson Akana answered with a three-pointer to put BYU–Hawaii ahead to stay.  The Toros kept the game close until the final minute when a late flurry of baskets by BYU–Hawaii stretched the lead to the final margin.

Freshman Jet Chang provided a big boost for the Seasiders off the bench, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the second half.  Nate Sims added ten points and six rebounds for BYU–Hawaii while Akana and Jermaine Odjegba tallied eight apiece.  Marques Whippy scored only two points but pulled down five rebounds, handed out a game-high eight assists, and came up with three steals for the Seasiders.

Jerrell Smith scored 16 points and had six rebounds to lead Dominguez Hills, who finish the season at 22-8.  Rodney Yearby had 13 points and six rebounds, Jonathan Toliver 11 points, and Ryan Walton ten points in the loss for the Toros.