Special to the Star-Advertiser
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 12, 2011
ELLENSBURG, WASH » Brigham Young-Hawaii, 27-point loser of its season-opening contest to Cal State Dominguez Hills, returned the favor when it mattered most, pulling off a significant upset yesterday in the first round of the NCAA Division II national tournament with an 83-76 victory.
The win propels the Seasiders (18-8) — the No. 7 seed in the eight-team West Regional — into the second round of tournament play against sixth-seeded Alaska Anchorage, which knocked off the No. 3 seed, Humboldt State.
BYUH shot 51 percent from the floor and rode a tidal wave of offense and defense from Marques Whippy in the middle. The senior totaled 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting, eight rebounds and three blocks.
"I think he had more points, blocks and rebounds in one game than I had in my playing career," BYUH head Ken Wagner joked.
But Whippy disagreed.
"It wasn't me," he said. "This was a team win. All of us."
Both teams traded leads in the opening minutes, with BYUH scoring five straight for the early 10-6 advantage. However, the Seasiders went cold over the next handful of minutes as the Toros crawled back into it to take the lead back at 19-17 and 21-19 at the 7:46 mark of the first half. They couldn't make it stick, though.
"We couldn't take advantage of our size in the first half," Dominguez Hills coach Damaine Powell said. "We couldn't stop anything without fouling them."
BYUH closed the half with a 12-3 run and led 43-37 at the break.
Dominguez would threaten a few times in the second half, but never could break the Seasiders' momentum.
Early in the second half, Zareh Zargaryan scored six straight points for the Toros, which cut the Seasiders advantage to 55-51, but BYUH responded big, with Whippy scoring three and Jet Chang hitting four as part of a 9-0 blitz to push the margin to double digits for the first time, 64-51.
In addition to Whippy's game-high 31 points, Chang and Heath Gameren each scored 12 for the Seasiders.
The Red Storm (21-6) put up 53 points in the second half to bite the Silverswords (20-9) for the third time this season.
Chaminade played catch-up for much of the game and simply ran out of gas in the second half. Dixie led by double digits for most of the final 20 minutes.
Steven Bennett led Chaminade with 16 points. Shane Hanson added 15 and De'Andre Haskins scored 14.
Dixie moves on to play Seattle Pacific.