Sports

Losing Streak Extends to Eight for UHH Men’s Hoops

January 7, 2014, 1:42 PM HST
* Updated January 7, 1:45 PM
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For the third consecutive game, the University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s basketball team gave a tough opponent everything it could handle on its home floor.

The Vulcans, however, could not overcome another slow start, falling to Point Loma Nazarene University 87-73 in Monday’s PacWest Conference game.

Point Loma opened up the game with a 15-7 advantage in the game’s first six minutes, led by Hayden Lescault’s six points. The Sea Lions dominated the glass too, grabbing nine rebounds to UH-Hilo’s one during that stretch.

Lescault, along with post player Junior Morgan, bewildered the UH-Hilo defense with a combination of outside shooting and easy baskets inside created by off-the-ball movement.  Lescault, using his size and shooting ability, scored 17 first half points on 5-for-9 shooting. Morgan, meanwhile, was the mover and shaker, sneaking behind the Vulcans’ defense and dominating the paint to score 18 first half points.

“This is the first time all year I think we didn’t compete in the first half,” said UH-Hilo first year coach GE Coleman. “I didn’t think we competed to the level you have to to get it done in an NCAA Division II conference.”

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Point Loma Nazarene (9-4 overall, 4-3 PacWest) boosted its lead to 15 points, the largest of the night, early in the second half. A pair of Vulcan reserves, Lucas Swanson and Yevgeniy Dyachenko, shot their team back into the game with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 54-47 with 13:58 remaining.

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Dyachenko scored a team-high 14 points for the Vulcans with six rebounds and three treys. His energy impressed Coleman during the game. “I thought Yev gave us an unbelieveable spark offensively, and we’ve got to do a better job getting him shots.”

UH-Hilo (3-10, 0-7) cut the deficit down to two points with 7:30 remaining with a basket from Joey Rodriguez. Point Loma sealed the game, however, with a 9-0 run over the next five and a half minutes to lead 76-65 with 2:05 left on the clock. The Sea Lions hit 11 of their last 12 free throw attempts to keep the Vulcans away for good.

Lescault led Point Loma with 31 points on 8-for-16 shooting. He hit 12 of his 15 free throw attempts and grabbed five rebounds in 38 minutes. Morgan, meanwhile, battled second half foul trouble to finish with 21 points and seven rebounds. AJ Ussery added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

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UH-Hilo drained nine three point shots on the night, but were out-rebounded 42-29 and shot just 39 percent from the field. Darnell Williams and Joey Rodriguez scored 13 points each to supplement Dyachenko’s team-high 14. Derek Owens added 11.

“For us, it’s not so much the X’s and O’s. It’s just the mental toughness to get through this and realize that yes, we’re getting beat, but I think we’ve played better,” said Coleman after the game. “Kids don’t want moral victories. I don’t want moral victories. We’ve gotta get a little confidence and get over this hump.”

The Vulcans start a four game road trip on Jan. 18 with a visit to Notre Dame de Namur University.

Point Loma Nazarene 48 39 – 87

UH-Hilo 38 35 – 73

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