BYU-Hawaii moves out of first round
ANCHORAGE, Alaska » BYU-Hawaii turned Cal State San Bernardino's rat-a-tat-tat attack against the Coyotes yesterday as the Seasiders won 67-63 in the Division II West Regional quarterfinal.
Lucas Alves and Jermaine Odjegba each scored 16 and Alves had a game-high 10 rebounds before 1,160 at the Wells Fargo Sports Center at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
"We were fortunate to win. Even though our guys played hard, we got off to terrible start with a bunch of turnovers," said BYU-Hawaii coach Ken Wagner. "It's really hard at the end of the game when they make a run and take the lead, but I think we responded well."
The two teams opened last year's West Regional with top seed CSSB winning 71-68. Coyotes coach Jeff Oliver said yesterday's game was a carbon copy.
"Spitting image of last year's game," he said of San Bernardino's first step to the 2007 Division II Final Four. "Last year we fell behind late, but we made a run at the end to win."
Down 56-53 with 3:39 remaining, Odjegba and Alves scored eight of the Seasiders' last 12 points with opportunistic plays inside 5 feet.
"Both of these two guys (Odjegba and Alves) made some moves inside, some power moves, to get us back in the lead," Wagner said. "It takes big moves by big players."
Maybe BYU-Hawaii's biggest play down the stretch was Corey Nielson mugging Michael Earl as the Coyotes' leading scorer went for a dunk with 19 seconds left and the Seasiders ahead 65-62. Earl, 2-for-6 from the stripe at that point, made only one. Nielson was intentionally fouled 7 seconds later and, using a lot of rim, sank both free throws to seal the win.
San Bernardino's ball pressure led to three crowd-pleasing plays: alley-oop dunks by Alves, all fed by Nielson, accounting for almost half of his game-high eight assists.
"They tried to press too much to the ball and the weak side was open," Alves said "I was surprised."
The last one of those came with 12:27 left in the game and put BYU-Hawaii up 49-42. A Paul Peterson layup a minute later gave the Seasiders a 51-42 bulge.
The Coyotes' ensuing 10-0 run was built on its pressure, resulting in six BYU-Hawaii turnovers. San Bernardino made five of eight shots in the blitz, while the Seasiders' offense consisted of Alves missing a layup, and then missing the putback.
"They're an unbelievable quick team," Wagner said. "They get all over you and don't stop coming."
So the cross-island teams meet for the fourth time this season at 3 p.m. today. If BYUH had won one of the previous three, the teams would have tied for the conference title. One gets the feeling the Seariders came this far hoping for this game.
"They've outrebounded us in all three games; we've got to do better," said Alves. "More rebounds, more points."