Saturday, February 27, 1999

C O L L E G E _ B A S K E T B A L L

HPU reaches final
of PacWest tournament

By Jerry Campany
Special to the Star-Bulletin


Stacey Nolan worked overtime to get it right.

Hawaii Pacific advanced to the final game of the Pacific West Conference basketball tournament with an 87-83 overtime win over Seattle Pacific last night at Mid-Pacific gym.

The Sea Warriors cruised to a 47-33 halftime lead, but watched it disintegrate when the game became a contest between Robert Parker and Jeff McBroom. The effort was entertaining as two of the premier players in the conference matched each other basket-for-basket.

But that display took Hawaii Pacific out of its offense.

Nolan got caught up in the sideshow and attempted to bring the ball up when the Falcons pressured Shannon Lee. Nolan dribbled the ball off his foot and played the rest of the game with an ear to the bench, where Hawaii Pacific head coach Tony Sellitto repeatedly implored Nolan to get his head into the game.

But Sellitto left Nolan in for his defense and leadership, and Nolan responded by keeping his team together when everything around it was falling apart.

"I made a few mistakes trying to make things happen individually instead of staying inside my role," Nolan said. "I was just hoping that coach would leave me in to make up for them."

Ryan Sowards hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, but in the extra period Nolan made up for his previous mistakes. He scored six of his 11 points in overtime and kept McBroom under wraps.

Bullet Central Washington 89, BYU-Hawaii 87, OT: For the Seasiders, home court advantage took effect before the game even started -- but it wasn't enough.

BYUH came up just short in the first semifinal game of the Pacific West tournament, losing in overtime.

The Seasiders came into the game wary of Wildcat point guard Derrick Elliott, but managed to shut him and the rest of the most prolific scoring offense in the tournament down -- at least until overtime struck.

Central Washington ran out to an 11 point lead after 10 minutes of play, causing onlookers to believe that another Central Washington rout was in order.

But this was not the regular season, it was do-or-die and BYUH responded. The Seasiders held the best scoring offense in the tournament scoreless for a five minute stretch and used that momentum to speed past Central Washington and into the locker room at halftime with a surprising 37-35 lead.

Ken Wagner's team repeatedly forced the Wildcats to rush their shots with the shot clock winding down, but got some help from Central Washington's unhealthy point guard.

Elliott missed all seven of his shots in the first half, and was forced into as many turnovers (2) as he had assists. Elliott runs the attack for the Wildcats, but the island weather did him in as much as the Seasiders stifling defense.

"I stayed out in the sun all day long," Elliott said. "After my first five shots, I was too exhausted to do anything."

BYUH took advantage of the headless monster in the second half, leading by as many as 12 while Elliott languished on the bench. He recovered and took the floor for the final three minutes of the period. It was desperation time, and Central Washington needed its leader on the floor.

Elliott continued to miss shots but found a way to make a difference with the game on the line. With 10 seconds remaining and his team trailing by two, Elliott drove the lane on a fast break and dished a behind-the-back pass to Carson Payne, who was trailing on the play, for an easy layup to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Tyce Nasinec scored seven straight points in the extra period, but the Seasiders refused to go away. They pulled within one and were forced to foul Elliott with 12 seconds left.

Elliott made one of two and sent BYUH back up to the north shore when Thomas Joyce missed a desperate attempt at the buzzer.

For the Seasiders, losing to the conference's top dog isn't consolation enough.

"We should have won this game," Wagner said. "The guys played great basketball and another inch on a steal attempt and the game is ours."

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