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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, January 12, 2002

Chaminade holds on to beat HPU

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

After squandering a 19-point halftime lead a week ago, it was beginning to look like deja vu for the Chaminade Silverswords.

Not this time.

Hawai'i Pacific rallied from a 15-point deficit, only to see 6-foot-7 center Igor Beljanski's putback with 36 seconds left lift the Silverswords to an 81-78 Pacific West Conference men's basketball victory at Mid-Pacific Institute gym last night.

"That's the third game this year we've had a big lead in the first half and let it get away from us," Chaminade coach Aaron Griess said. "But this was different. We held our composure. Two of the three we held our composure. This was big for us, coming off last week, when we lost to (Montana) Billings at the buzzer on a 3-pointer. It's hard to bounce back because it gets on your mind."

The Silverswords improved to 3-1 in the conference and 10-5 overall in spoiling the Sea Warriors' conference opener, sending them to 9-4 overall. The two meet again at 7:30 tonight at Mid-Pac.

Albert Powell led the Silverswords with 26 points, including six 3-pointers.

"Powell killed us," HPU coach Tony Sellitto said.

The Sea Warriors took their first lead of the game, 76-75, with 2:53 left when Nick Spajic converted both ends of a one-and-one, but lost it at 2:25 on Kashif Reyes' short jumper for Chaminade.

HPU got the lead back with 1:14 left on Jeff Jensen's jumper from free-throw line.

After Chaminade missed on its ensuing possession, HPU turned over the ball on a back court violation with 50 seconds left, setting up Beljanski's go-ahead basket.

HPU worked the ball downcourt, but Spajic missed; Powell got the rebound and was fouled. He made his only two free throws of the game to provide the margin of victory with 18 seconds left.

John Avilla's 35-foot desperation shot at the buzzer missed for HPU.

"The free throws were big," Powell said. "I had to concentrate on knocking them down."

Free throws also were the difference. The Sea Warriors made 4 of 9 in the first half. They actually were more successful from 3-point range in the first half (4 of 7).

"We played a great second half," Sellitto said. "We outscored them in the second half, played a terrible first half and missed all our free throws."

The win was a boost the Silverswords needed after last week's 3-point buzzer shot by Montana-Billings.

"Our guys didn't get tight tonight," Griess said. "We made our free throws, rebounded when we had to. That's a good team HPU has. We have to hopefully have the same kind of intensity for (tonight)."

Added Sellitto: "We've got to put a complete game together. When we put a complete game together we'll be fine."

• UH-Hilo 81, BYUH 74: Scott Prather had a game-high 27 points and David LaQua added 20 to help the visiting Vulcans (4-0 PacWest, 14-2 overall) extend their winning streak to 12.

Keli'i Naihe led the Seasiders (0-1, 9-5) with 23 points.

It was BYUH's first game in 20 days; the layoff was reflected with 38 percent shooting from the field.

BYUH pulled to within 75-74 with 1:37 left, but fouls aided the Vulcans in increasing their lead.

The teams play again at 7:30 tonight at Cannon.