Tuesday, March 10, 1998
NAIA showdown for HPU, BYUHBy Pat Bigold
This time they really mean business.
Hawaii Pacific University and Brigham Young University-Hawaii go at it again tonight (7:30) at the Blaisdell Arena, in the Far West Hawaii Region playoff game. At stake is an automatic berth in the NAIA Championship Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
The Sea Warriors, ranked No. 8 in the NAIA poll, walloped the No. 10 Seasiders, 100-76, in a somewhat meaningless season finale Thursday night at the Blaisdell, raising their season record against BYUH to 2-1.
It was the second largest margin of victory by a Hawaii Pacific team over BYU-Hawaii in the 21 years that the teams have been meeting.
"You never want to lose like that," said Seasiders head coach Ken Wagner, whose team is 19-6. "But to beat us Tuesday, HPU will have to play their best game."
The Sea Warriors, 21-4, have not lost this season at their Blaisdell home.
BYUH is seeking its third straight trip to the NAIA tourney..
The Sea Warriors have gone there six times since 1988 under head coach Tony Sellitto and won a national title in 1993.
The Seasiders are led by first-team All-Hawaii Intercollegiate Athletic Conference guard David Evans, a 6-for-6 sophomore, and second-team guard Brandyn Akana, a 5-11 senior.
Evans led the HIAC in scoring with a 21 points per game average and is second in field goal percentage at .561. Akana, a Molokai native, leads the conference in 3-point percentage (.479).
HPU's All-HIAC center J.J. Lucas scored 25 points against BYUH on Thursday but he's by no mean the only problem Wagner's team faces.
HPU guard Llewellyn Smalley was recently named the HIAC's most valuable player.
Both Lucas and Smalley average 19.1 points per game.
NAIA Far WestWHO: Hawaii Pacific (21-4) vs. BYU-Hawaii (19-6)
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Blaisdell Arena
Broadcasts: Live on Oceanic Channel 16 and 760-AM and 650-AM radio.