Competition gets tough for BYUH
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
Riding the wave of a four-game winning streak, Brigham Young-Hawai'i is feeling confident, feeling its game, and feeling like it is ready to host the Yahoo! Sports Invitational next week.
Dec. 20 Tulsa vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m. Valparaiso vs. New Mexico State, 3 p.m. Navy vs. Montana, 6 p.m. Columbia vs. Brigham Young-Hawai'i, 8 p.m. Dec. 21 Consolation games at 1 and 3 p.m. Semifinal games at 6 and 8 p.m. Dec. 22 Seventh place, 10 a.m. Fifth place, noon Third place, 3 p.m. Championship, 5 p.m.
Yahoo! Sports Invitational
At Cannon Activities Center
Tulsa vs. Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Valparaiso vs. New Mexico State, 3 p.m.
Navy vs. Montana, 6 p.m.
Columbia vs. Brigham Young-Hawai'i, 8 p.m.
Consolation games at 1 and 3 p.m.
Semifinal games at 6 and 8 p.m.
Seventh place, 10 a.m.
Fifth place, noon
Third place, 3 p.m.
Championship, 5 p.m.
But after a fast-paced, high-energy win over Montana State University-Northern, 97-86, on Tuesday, the Seasiders proved to be cohesive and patient exactly what they will need to be in the upcoming tournament that features last year's NIT champion Tulsa, Valparaiso and New Mexico State.
"(That night) was the first time we actually stuck with our offensive game, our plan," said BYUH assistant coach Brandyn Akana. "Instead of being impatient, we were patient. That's something we've been working on."
They have the tendency to shoot on the first pass, he added, which won't be effective against Division I teams.
"We can get away with that against Division II teams ... but not with big Division I teams," Akana said. "Of course we know we can score anytime, but we want to be more structured when we play bigger and better teams.
"What we want to do is work the ball, take time off the clock, get a better shot.
And the Seasiders have one more game to test their offensive strategies. On Monday, BYUH faces Lincoln (Mo.) University, a team that has only won one game on the road this season. The Blue Tigers (4-4), coming off their first win in four games last week, take a week off before flying to Hawai'i to face UH-Hilo, BYUH and Hawai'i Pacific.
"We need to do a better job defensively," Akana said. "Lincoln is a very tough, very athletic team, similar to us. They like to run-and-shoot. We need to slow (the game) down."
But BYUH is not without its offensive weapons.
Three Seasiders are averaging double-digits in scoring: Alexus Foyle (19.9), Keli'i Naihe (14.4) and Scott Salisbury (13.2). Salisbury, a 6-foot-8 junior center from Richland, Wash., is also averaging 11.1 rebounds per game, not to mention has 21 steals and 12 blocks so far this season.
"Scott is somebody who does it all," Akana said. "He's quiet scoring-wise, but he comes through."
Four consecutive wins has helped the team's confidence, which they'll need in if they want to compete successfully in the tournament.
"The team, as a whole, is excited," Akana said. "Their confidence level is very high, mostly because of the road wins against some tough teams. It's great to be home."
Back in action: After two weeks off, HPU, Hilo and Chaminade are all itching for action.
After National Christian University of Texas canceled its trip to Hawai'i to play HPU this Sunday, due to travel anxieties, the Sea Warriors added a game against Cal State-Monterey Bay on Wednesday. Those with tickets to Sunday's game can use them on Wednesday.
But first, the Sea Warriors (3-3) have to get past tonight's game against Montana State University-Northern (8-2).
Senior guards Nash Subotic and Nick Spajic are the only Sea Warriors averaging double-digits in scoring going into the weekend with 17.3 and 13.2 points per game, respectively.
Hilo (4-2) plays host to Lincoln University tomorrow in the Vulcans' first game since Nov. 29.
They will be playing without guard Brady Hyde, who broke his hand a day after the Big Island Invitational Basketball Tournament. Prior to his injury, the 6-foot-1 junior from Sully Buttes, S.D., averaged 10.6 points and 2.4 rebounds a game. He is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Five Vulcans are averaging double-digits in scoring heading into tomorrow's game against the Blue Tigers: Scott Prather (20.2), David LaQua (13.2), Derek Mgbeke (12.8), Kyle Bartholomew (11.3) and Hyde (10.6).
On Monday, Hilo plays host to Potsdam State (N.Y.) and Cal State-Monterey Bay in the AmeriSports Coconut Coast Classic Dec. 17-18.
Chaminade (2-3) plays Hastings (Neb.) College tomorrow.
BYUH teams ranked: Both men's and women's tennis teams from BYUH are ranked among the nation's top programs in the preseason rankings for NCAA Division II teams released yesterday.
The Seasider women, winners of four national titles in the past five years, are ranked second nationally to Lynn (Fla.) University by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association; the men are third behind HPU and Valdosta (Ga.) State.
Lynn defeated the Seasiders in last year's NCAA II title match, breaking the Seasiders' 103-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. The HPU women's team is ranked 16th.
"We have five of the six players who played in that final match back this year," said head coach David Porter. "I feel pretty good about this year's team."
Seasider senior Petra Gaspar, a three-time All-American, is ranked third in singles. Teammates Tagifano So'onalole, Tomoko Sukegawa and Amy Sun are sixth, 11th and 16th, respectively. In doubles, Gaspar and So'onalole are ranked second nationally.
There are three players ranked in the Top 20 for BYUH, which finished fourth in the NCAA II championships last year. This year's squad is young but talented: Freshman Jan Krejic is ranked fourth, sophomore Peter Madarassy fifth, and sophomore Hung Soon Park 11th. In doubles, Krejic and Madarassy are listed at third nationally.
Krejic, who redshirted last year, won BYUH's fall tournament.
"He's a real physical player," said Porter, in his 20th year at the helm. "At 6-foot-4, he serves hard ... and he tries to pull the trigger quicker."
HPU boasts three singles players in the Top 20: Michael Maata is eighth, Blaz Jurjec ninth and Jan Tribler 12th.
This week's schedule
Hastings College at Chaminade, 3 p.m., McCabe Gym
Lincoln University at UH-Hilo, 7;15 p.m., Afook-Chinen Civic Center
Monday, Dec. 17
Lincoln University at BYUH, 7:30 p.m., Cannon Activities Center
Cal State-Monterey Bay at UH-Hilo, 8 p.m. Afook-Chinen Civic Center
Tuesday, Dec. 18
Potsdam State at UH-Hilo, 8 p.m., Afook-Chinen Civic Center
Lincoln University at HPU, 7:30 p.m., Blaisdell Center
Chaminade at Western State College, 4 p.m. Hawai'i time, Gunnison, Colo.