BYUH soars to win


POSTED: Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hawaii basketball fans, you've been missing out.

The runnin' and gunnin' Brigham Young-Hawaii Seasiders, the best-kept hoops secret on Oahu, outlasted Humboldt State (Calif.) for a 98-84 victory in the first round of the NCAA II West subregional last night at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie.

A raucous crowd of about 1,800 bolstered the third-ranked and top-seeded 'Siders to the round of 32 against fourth-seeded Cal State-Dominguez Hills, their opponent today at 7:30 p.m. If they can pull off another victory at home, they'll have matched last year's effort for the school's longest run in the Division II NCAA tournament.

BYUH (26-1) last hosted a West regional in 2003, but was stunned in its first game by Cal State Bakersfield. There would be no opening-round slip-up this time for the North Shore hosts, who had six players finish in double figures and narrowly missed scoring 100 points for the ninth time this season.

These Seasiders shot 56.4 percent and extinguished any worries of another early letdown by going up 17-6 and 26-14.

The Pacific West Conference champions extended their winning streak to 23 games by pushing the tempo from end to end behind the exciting play of point guard J.R. Buensuceso. The Cousy Award finalist scored a team-high 21, dished eight assists and committed just one turnover. Lucas Alves added 17, Nathan Sims 15, Jermaine Odjegba 13 and nine rebounds. Tsung-Hsien “;Jet”; Chang chipped in 12 and Trenson Akana 10.

“;I wasn't as pleased with our sharing the ball (22 assists against 21 turnovers) as I normally am, but as a first-round game I think it's good to get it behind you,”; BYUH coach Ken Wagner said. “;Hopefully we'll be ready to play tomorrow night.”;

By the end of the night, the Seasider faithful was treated to several alley-oop slams by posts Alves and Marques Whippy. Several times the hosts leaked out for fullcourt passes and Buensuceso or backup point guard A.J. Reilly obliged their teammates with spot-on passes.

“;It feels good, but we're not satisfied,”; Buensuceso said. “;We gotta come tomorrow and play - Dominguez is really excited to play us. They want to upset us, and we want to prove to people that we're here to stay.”;

Humboldt, which lost four of five games before qualifying on the tournament bubble, were nearly run off the CAC court but stayed in the game behind the shooting of its star guard, Zac Tiedeman. The Jacks (20-12) went on an 11-3 run to pull within 83-78 with 3 minutes, 58 seconds left.

But Akana and Buensuceso answered with consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead back to 89-80 and squelched the Jacks' best threat. The Seasiders converted free throws in the final minute to seal it.

“;We felt like we had a chance,”; said Jacks coach Tom Wood, who didn't complain about a 40-8 disparity in free throws attempted. “;I'm proud of (Tiedeman) and all the other players. We got a young team, and we battled back.”;

Tiedeman, an All-California Collegiate Athletic Association pick, scored 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

BYUH shot 51.9 percent in the first half in taking a 47-34 lead at intermission.

Cal State Dominguez Hills 87, Central Washington 83

The Toros (22-7) outlasted the Wildcats (18-7) despite a 64-point second half by CWU. Rodney Yearby led five CSDH players in double figures with 18 points and nine rebounds.

The Wildcats were held to 16.1 percent shooting in the first half, but exploded to convert at a 58.8 clip after halftime. They rallied to within four two times in the final minutes but could never get closer.

Giovonne Woods scored 24 points off the bench to lead CWU. Chris Sprinker added 11 points and 10 rebounds.


BYUH 98, Humboldt St. 84

TOROS (20-12)














Key - fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fould; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime - BYU-Hawaii 47, Humboldt State 34.

3-point goals - HSU 10-27 (Tiedeman 6-7, Atkins 2-6, Petty 2-3, Spada 0-3, Baxter 0-1, Howard 0-2, Mathews 0-3, Babcock-Krenk 0-2), BYUH 8-16 (Buensuceso 6-10, Alves 6-15, Akana 2-5, Sims 1-2, Chang 0-1).

Steals - HSU 7, BYUH 13. Blocked Shots - HSU 0, BYUH 5. Officials - Greg Nixon, Ernest Kelly, Jeff Kitchu. Attendance - 1,795.