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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, March 2, 2000

P A C _ W E S T

PacWest’s big
showdown comes in
the semifinals

Third seed BYU-Hawaii faces
a tough foe tomorrow in No. 3
seed Central Washington


By Tim Booth
Special to the Star-Bulletin


ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- In a tournament setting, the two division winners are usually put in different brackets for a potential showdown in the championship game.

Apparently the PacWest Conference wants to be different.

Pacific Division champion BYU-Hawaii and West Division champion Central Washington will meet in the semifinals of the PacWest Conference basketball tournament tomorrow night (6 p.m. HST) at Nicholson Pavilion on the Central campus.

Because the conference uses power ratings to determine the seeds, the Wildcats are seeded No. 2 while the Seasiders are No. 3.

The game will feature a match-up of two of the top individual players in the PacWest, BYUH's David Evans and Central's Carson Payne. The 6-foot-5 Evans, the nation's leading scorer in NCAA Division II at 28.4 points per game, will be matched against the 6-foot-4 Payne, who averaged just under 19 points a game in the regular season.

"Carson is having a great season this year and so is David, and the style of play makes for a fun game for the fans to watch," BYUH head coach Ken Wagner said.

Despite having to face the top scorer in the nation, Central head coach Greg Sparling doesn't plan on making many defensive changes or at least isn't tipping his hand toward any.

"We'll stay with our defensive philosophy," Sparling said. "We'll rotate different people in on him (Evans), and just see who gets his number."

The Seasiders will also be trying to shut down the Wildcat offensive attack, an offense that is averaging more than 91 points a game on the season.

Central has not been held under 75 points all season and under 80 points in a month.

"We really don't like the tempo that they play at, but we've played well defensively against them in the past and I expect we will this time," Wagner said.

The two squads faced each other twice last season, with the Wildcats winning both. In a January match-up in Ellensburg, Central won, 86-78, but the conference tourney saw the Wildcats come from 15 down in the final five minutes to win, 89-87, in overtime.

In tomorrow's first game, the top-seeded Seattle Pacific Falcons will take on fourth-seeded Western Washington.

Tomorrow's winners advance to Saturday's championship. The winner will receive the conference's automatic bid to next week's NCAA Division II West Regional. The top six teams from the West Region are in the event, including at-large teams. BYUH is ranked No. 4 in the region.

Evans player of year

Brigham Young-Hawaii guard David Evans added yet another honor to his resume yesterday.

Evans, the leading scorer in NCAA Division II men's basketball, was named the Pacific West Conference Player of the Year by a vote of the league's coaches.

Evans was earlier named to the all-Academic teams of the PacWest and GTE West Region. He was also selected to the NABC/Oldsmobile All-District team.



HPU looking to rebound

By Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin


Tony Sellitto and his Hawaii Pacific men's basketball team players are not accustomed to losing.

The one constant in the Sea Warriors' program has been winning - until this year. HPU saw its streak of 16 consecutive winning seasons snapped when the Sea Warriors finished play last weekend at 12-14, 6-8 in the Pacific West Conference.

HPU, the PacWest Pacific Division winner last year, also will not be advancing to postseason play for the first time in seven seasons.

Sellitto places much of the blame for the disappointing season on his own shoulders, saying that he should have done a better job of recruiting.

"You're only as good as your talent," said Sellitto, finishing his 10th year. "You're not going to win without it, and you cannot coach yourself to win at this level like you can in high school."

HPU was down to seven scholarship players for most of the season due to injuries and player dismissals. It forced Sellitto to play two of his best players out of their natural positions.

Senior co-captain Jemar Miller had to play the point instead of his natural shooting guard position. Senior co-captain Scott Kato was moved from his natural power forward position to play small forward.

Sellitto said that he did not know how these moves would fare for his team when he first made them, but that both of these players stepped up to the challenge and performed well.

Unfortunately for the Sea Warriors, the team as a whole did not perform well enough to keep their streaks alive.

Sellitto feels the winning tradition will be re-established next year. His top returnee is 6-foot-4 junior guard Kawika Smith, whom Sellitto feels has all-conference potential.

The coach also feels confident about his recruiting. He expected two solid point guards to be on the roster next fall.

"You are only as good as your point guard,'' said Sellitto. "You have to have continuity at the different positions, people playing the same position for four years.

"I'm not going to go through that (losing) again.''

Walker Bows out:

Al Walker finished his final basketball season as head coach at Chaminade with a .500 record (13-13).

Walker had announced prior to the start of the season that this would be his last year. Aaron Griess, the Silverswords' top assistant, will take over next season.

Chaminade has not had a winning season in basketball since 1992.

Vulcans on road:

The Hawaii-Hilo baseball team is in Fresno for a three-game WAC series, beginning today and continuing through Saturday.

On Monday, the Vulcans concluded their first-ever WAC series by dropping a doubleheader at San Jose State.

UH-Hilo won the opener against the Spartans, 5-0, behind the strong pitching of senior right-hander Kaholo Rickard (4-0). The Vulcans are 10-12 overall, 1-2 in the WAC.

Despite their sub-.500 record, the Vulcans have already surpassed their win total from last year.

Seasiders No. 17:

The Brigham Young University-Hawaii wo-men's tennis team continues to amaze.

After going undefeated and winning the Division II national title last year, the Seasiders are still unbeaten this season (7-0). Their dual match win streak is at 38 straight .

BYUH has earned unprecedented national recognition for a Division II team. This past weekend, the Seasiders became the first small-college team ever to be ranked in the top 20 of the "Daily Tennis" Women's Top 200 national rankings.

This poll includes both NCAA Division I and small college teams. The Seasiders are ranked 17th.The next small college team in the poll is Lynn College at 47th.

Hawaii Pacific
U.H. Hilo

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