HONOLULU -- Hawaii Pacific (9-2, 4-1) defeated No. 7 Dixie State (11-1, 5-1) at Blaisdell Arena on Monday night 96-77.
For any doubters that questioned the legitimacy of HPU's fast start, the Sea Warriors proved their mettle early, jumping on the defending PacWest Champions early and never let their foot off the gas.
Farbod Farman, who played his best game as a Sea Warrior, put away a pair of layups before Malte Ziegenhagen and Justin Long hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 14-4 lead with 15:08 to play in the first. The Red Storm cut the deficit down to seven with 9:35 to play, but a pair of free throws by Leif Rodney and a steal and layup by Darry Jones Jr. gave the Sea Warriors a 33-22 lead with 8:22 to play in the first half.
The lead would get as high as 13 points and would get no lower than seven as each team traded baskets to close the half. A Rema Lascelles 3-pointer was the final bucket of the half for either side as the Sea Warriors took a 48-37 lead to the locker room.
The Sea Warriors shot a strong 54 percent (20-for-37) from the field but struggled from behind the arc only hitting 29.4 percent (5-for-17). Dixie State hit 42 percent (13-for-31) of its shots from the field in the first half including 43 percent (3-for-7) from long range.
The Sea Warriors kept the momentum coming out of the locker room with Ziegehagen and Long drilling 3-pointers in the early minutes. Leif Rodney's dribble drive and layup made it 58-41 with 17:45 to play.
The lead would grow to as many as 22 points with 14:49 to play after Long picked off the inbounds pass and laid it in.
No. 1 West Liberty 116, Virginia-Wise 79
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Top-ranked West Liberty shook off a slow start Monday night and dominated the final 30 minutes of a 116-79 victory against Virginia-Wise at the ASRC.
Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (10-0, 6-0) trailed through much of the early going and held just a 25-21 edge midway through the opening stanza but that's when West Liberty's full-court pressure began to take its toll.
The Hilltoppers closed the half on a 30-12 run to take a 55-33 lead into the locker room and the Virginia visitors never threatened again.
West Liberty, which leads the nation in scoring at 114.1 points per game, hit 45 of 91 shots from the floor and drained 14 3-point field goals but Crutchfield's attention was focused on the other end of the court.
"Tonight wasn't about shooting, it was about defense," Crutchfield said. "I thought our press was really effective. Even though we didn't turn them over a lot, relatively speaking, I think we made them uncomfortable."
The Hilltoppers were charted with 14 steals – just four off their season-high – and UVA-Wise was charted with just seven assists to go against 23 turnovers. West Liberty handed out 24 assists while giving up just 10 turnovers.
Kelvin Goodwin came off the bench to lead a balanced WLU attack with 22 points. Shawn Dyer had a solid game with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals while Cedric Harris stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists and six steals. The nine assists gave Harris more than 400 for his Hilltopper career.
Seger Bonifant weighed in with 17 points, Keene Cockburn added 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and Devin Hoehn closed out the double-figure scorers with 11 points.
"I know Kelvin led us in scoring," Crutchfield said, "but I think this might have been the best defensive game of his career. He was running people down from behind in the press and that's something we haven't seen for a while up here.
"Cedric's shot wasn't dropping today but he found other ways to contribute and that's really the case for a lot of our guys. I thought we shared the ball very well tonight and got everybody involved. This was a good win."
Deon Boyce had a huge game in defeat for the Cavaliers, scoring 23 points and grabbing 19 rebounds – both game highs. The 19 rebounds tied the ASRC record for rebounds by an opposing player.