BYUH men pull out thriller against HPU
By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer
A matchup of two of the Pacific West Conference's top men's basketball teams Saturday provided a thrilling finish for the more than 1,400 fans at the Cannon Activities Center that witnessed BYU-Hawai'i's 89-88 win over Hawai'i Pacific.
The visiting Sea Warriors tied it at 83 with 1:16 to play after an 11-0 run. The Seasiders then pulled ahead on a Garrett Sandberg jumper, but HPU's Ray Murdock made a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left to tie it at 85. Lucas Alves then gave BYUH a 87-85 lead on a dunk with 13 seconds left. After HPU hurried downcourt, Murdock missed a 3-pointer, but the long rebound came back to him and he drained it from behind the arc to give his team an 88-87 lead with three seconds to play.
"All game we were ahead by 12 or 15, but in the last three minutes they got hot and we made some mistakes," Seasiders' assistant coach Brandyn Akana said. "I thought it was over once he hit that 3. It was pretty amazing, he was off balance."
BYUH's Marques Whippy nearly threw the ensuing inbounds pass too far for Heath Gameren, but Gameren gathered the ball and found A.J. Reilly to his left, who banked in a short jumper with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
"Everything about it was remarkable," Akana said. "(Gameren) was under the backboard and he could actually only tip it — he didn't catch it — but, he threw a nice pass to A.J. and he was able to score."
It was the second time BYUH had beaten HPU this season, but Saturday marked the first conference loss for the Sea Warriors. The Seasiders won, 92-75, on Dec. 11 in a nonleague game at McCabe Gymnasium.
"HPU has been the team out in front (of the PacWest) so that was a huge win for us," Akana said. "It was good to get back on the winning track. We needed this win."
BYUH is now 8-5 overall and 2-2 in the PacWest. HPU is 13-4 and 5-1.
The teams meet once more Feb. 27 at Blaisdell Arena.