The automatic berth into next week’s NCAA Division II men’s tournament was already off the table when Chaminade and Brigham Young-Hawaii took the McCabe Gym court last night.
With Dixie State having claimed the Pacific West Conference’s automatic bid hours earlier with an 85-68 win at Hawaii-Hilo, both the Silverswords and the Seasiders knew they were playing for seeding in the eight-team regional that begins Thursday, most likely at Central Washington.
Thanks to 18 points from Steven Bennett and three key free throws by Chris Curtis in the final minute, Chaminade defeated BYUH for the third time this season, 84-82. The Silverswords (20-3, 12-3), head into the postseason as the PacWest co-champs, while the Seasiders (17-8, 12-4) learn their seeding during today’s selection show (5 p.m. Hawaii time on NCAA.com).
"It’s all about the regional seedings now," Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said. "We’ve been in a lot of close games this season and it was a matter of keeping our composure.
"And Steven Bennett … just a great player for us at the end tonight."
Bennett’s jumper with 41 seconds left gave the Silverswords the lead for good at 81-79. Curtis added two free throws and, after BYUH closed to 83-82 on a putback by Heath Gameren, Curtis hit one of two from the line.
"I’m only shooting 53 percent (from the line) this season and I knew I had to do better," Curtis said.
Curtis finished 8-for-11 from the line en route to 16 points. Mamadou Diarra added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
For the Seasiders, Marques Whippy finished with 21 points, Rory Patterson 17 and Gameren 14.
The Silverswords used an 11-2 run in the final 2:30 of the half to jump out to a 47-36 lead. Diarra scored four of his 10 first-half points during the spurt and Bennett capped it with a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left.
The momentum came out of the locker room with the Seasiders, with Whippy scoring nine points and Jet Chang hitting a 3-pointer as BYUH tied it at 57 midway through the half. Chaminade appeared to take control at 66-61 on Haskins’ 3-pointer, but the Seasiders wouldn’t go away.
Whippy converted a 3-point play with 5:13 remaining, putting BYUH up 72-71.
Whippy’s 3-pointer with 2:20 left put the Seasiders ahead at 79-77. Diarra’s putback seconds later tied it at 79 and Bennett put Chaminade up for good with his basket with 41 seconds left.
Dixie State 85, Hawaii-Hilo 68
The Red Storm pulled away from a 39-39 halftime tie to roll past the Vulcans and into the NCAA Division II tournament.
Jeremiah Barnes scored 14 points to lead Dixie State (20-6, 13-3), which hit 25 of its 30 free-throw attempts to pull away. The Red Storm were 19-for-20 from the line when they surprised then-conference leader Chaminade on Wednesday, 72-69.
Aukai Wong came off the bench for 14 points and Lavell Shipman added 12 for Hawaii-Hilo (16-11, 8-8).
Hawaii Pacific 74, Grand Canyon 70
LaBrent Chappell scored 12 points and the Sea Warriors hit 22 of 26 from the line in rallying past the Antelopes in the season finale for both at McCabe Gym.
Jason Jackson added 12 points and Adrian den Dulk 11 for HPU (12-16, 7-9).
Brad Carroll led Grand Canyon (14-12, 9-7) with 17, 15 coming on five of the Antelopes’ 10 3-pointers.
Grand Canyon 72, Hawaii Pacific 68
Samantha Murphy, the leading scorer in D-II women’s basketball, scored 21 points as Grand Canyon won its fourth PacWest championship in five years with a victory over Hawaii Pacific yesterday at McCabe Gym.
Maylinn Smith added 19 points for the Antelopes (27-2, 15-1), who extended their winning streak to 15. Grand Canyon earned the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA D-II tournament; the regional pairings will be announced this afternoon.
The loss likely ended the season for the Sea Warriors (18-7, 12-4), ranked 10th in the region. Only the top eight teams advance.
Mana Hopkins-Vandenakker led HPU with 21 points and Jazzmin Awa-Williams added 10.
Dixie State 85, Hawaii-Hilo 68
Johnna Brown scored 22 points and Breann Hill added 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Red Storm over the Vulcans at UHH gym.
The win likely clinched an at-large berth for the Red Storm (24-3, 14-2), ranked fourth in the region.
Senior guard Kirsty Imai scored a career-high 21 points for Hawaii-Hilo (9-15, 5-11).
Brigham Young-Hawaii 73, Chaminade 39
Richelle Rieben hit seven 3-pointers en route to 27 points and Erin Dastrup added 12 points for the Seasiders in a win over the Silverswords at McCabe Gym.
Rieben finishes her career as the all-time leading scorer for the BYUH women (1,473), and with 287 3-pointers, tops for the Seasiders men and women.