Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 4, 1999

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

HPU, BYUH play
for tourney title

By Al Chase


Hawaii Pacific rallied in the second half to earn the right to defend its Pacific West Conference-Hawaii tournament basketball title tonight at McCabe Gym.

Brigham Young-Hawaii overcame host Chaminade in the last minute, 11 seconds to avoid a first-round defeat like the Seasiders suffered a year ago and will play HPU for the championship at 8 .

The Sea Warriors (2-5) defeated Hawaii-Hilo, 66-54, their 23rd consecutive victory over a Hawaii opponent, and head coach Tony Sellitto used just six players.

"After you've played three D-I schools and get yourself bombed, games where we changed all the guys, let everybody play and didn't have a chance to beat them, we told the guys this is a D-II team, this is serious business," Sellitto said.

The first half featured fast-paced transition basketball and nine lead changes. The Vulcans (1-4) took the lead on Jason Schumate's steal and driving layup with four minutes to go and led by three, 30-27, at intermission.

Alan Thomas scored seven of his game-high 19 points early in the second half as the Vulcans pulled ahead by eight, 37-29.

That's when Sellitto switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense and it triggered a 19-2 HPU run. The closest the Vulcans would come after that was seven points.

"We thought before the game that they were not a good zone team. We went to the zone because, at the time, it seems like it would be a good thing to do. And, we went to a 1-3-1 rather than 2-1-2 because we played that in the first half," Sellitto said.

UH-Hilo head coach Jeff Law kept exhorting his team to go inside, but the Vulcans rarely did and they had little luck in breaking the zone by shooting from 3-point range (3-of-13).

Ryan Adle, a 6-foot-10 senior from Greeley, Colo., scored six points and Alvin Stephenson Jr. five during the HPU run. Adle also blocked six shots.

"We told Ryan not to front anybody, to back 'em. If you back 'em you'll block it. I thought he completely intimidated the middle," Sellitto said.

Stephenson finished with 17 points, Adle and Gary Heyer added 14.

Three-pointers played a huge role in BYU-Hawaii's victory. Thomas Joyce, a 6-foot-3 senior guard who was 0-2 from the field in the first half, rarely missed in the second half.

Joyce hit three 3-pointers early in the second half to help the Seasiders (6-1) to a seven-point advantage, but saved the best for the final 2:24, after the Silverswords (1-4) had stormed into the lead.

Joyce's fourth trey pulled the Seasiders to within one, 67-66, his fifth put them ahead by two and his sixth gave BYUH a 72-67 lead with less than a minute to play. He connected on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc in the second half.

"They made the plays. Thomas hit some big shots. They won the game rather than us losing it," Chaminade head coach Al Walker said.

"They are an awfully good team and we felt fortunate tonight," BYUH head coach Ken Wagner said.

Joyce finished with 18 points, one behind BYUH leader David Evans.

Stanley Martin paced the Silverswords with 27 points.

The Vulcans and Silverswords play for third place at 6 p.m.

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