Silverswords face Seasiders in Division II tournament
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The state of Hawaii is guaranteed to have a basketball team in the NCAA Division II region championship on Monday in Anchorage, Alaska.
Brigham Young-Hawaii and Chaminade will meet in a regional semifinal today after winning quarterfinal games yesterday.
The Seasiders (19-7) beat No. 14 Cal State San Bernardino 67-63, while the No. 25 Silverswords (21-7) dumped Humboldt State 68-60.
Chaminade and BYUH have met three times this season, with the Silverswords winning by margins of six, four and two points.
It is the first time the Seasiders have won an NCAA tournament game since 2003-04, when they lost in the semifinals.
Chaminade reached the semifinals in its only appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2006.
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska » Surviving without a foul-plagued Marko Kolaric for serious minutes in the second half, Chaminade converted nine of 12 free throws down the stretch to beat Humboldt State 68-60 yesterday in the Division II West Regional quarterfinal.
Stewart Kussler's 17 points and 15 rebounds paced the 21-7 Silverswords before 1,160 at the Wells Fargo Sports Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Kolaric added 15 points and 12 boards in 26 minutes. Humboldt's Devin Peal led all scorers with 27.
"Marko got in some foul trouble in the second half, as did (Rodrick Johnson), but the other guys just stepped right in," said Chaminade coach Matt Mahar. "We came out a little bit tight but settled in in the second half. We controlled the tempo the way we wanted to."
After BYU-Hawaii beat Cal State San Bernardino 67-63 later in the day, the Pacific West Conference is guaranteed a team in Monday's regional final. The Seasiders, the region's seventh seed, face No. 3 Chaminade at 3 p.m. today, the fourth time the teams will play this season. The Silverswords have won the previous three.
Not even 2 minutes into the second half Kolaric picked up two fouls within 34 seconds and hit the bench. With the 7-footer out for 9 minutes, the Lumberjacks could not capitalize. Humboldt was up 34-33 when Kolaric left and trailed 48-47 when he came back with 9:54 remaining.
"We're pretty big, but when Marko goes down we're a lot smaller," Kussler said. "So I knew I had to step up, rebound and do the little things."
Humboldt center Cy Vandermeer took immediate advantage of Kolaric's absence, scoring six of his team's next eight to get the Lumberjacks up 40-38 with 16 minutes left in the game. Humboldt's last lead, however, was 47-46.
Checking back in at 9:54, Kolaric immediately started filling up the stat sheet. He created a Lumberjack turnover, then assisted on Hayden Heiber's 3-pointer that made the score 51-47 Chaminade. Kolaric snagged three rebounds in the next 2 minutes and at 5:11 stripped Humboldt's Will Sheufelt, leading to a James Francisco trey that put the Silverswords up 56-49.
With the score 56-53 and less than 3 minutes remaining, Kolaric's field goal and free throw in two possessions made it 59-53. Thus began the Humboldt fouling spree. Kussler was 7-for-10 from the stripe in the closing minutes.
Call it nerves, defense, travel time, unknown floor, whatever, but the shooting by both teams was atrocious. Humboldt was 22-for-68 for 32 percent. The Silverswords were 22-for-62 ( 36 percent). This translated to enormous rebound totals; 45 for the Lumberjacks and 46 for Chaminade.
"When you're playing for your season, when it's one and done, you're just a little bit tighter," Mahar said. "We knocked down some 3s in the second half after being 3-for-14 in the first half and we hit our free throws."