LAIE, Hawaii - Daniel Berger scored 20 points to lead BYU-Hawaii men's basketball to a 100-90 victory over Hawaii Hilo on Friday night in the Cannon Activities Center.
"The team played hard and they really played together," BYU-Hawaii head coach Ken Wagner said. "We need to keep improving though. We don't have much time, but I still feel like we can get better."
Berger was aggressive on the offensive end, getting to the free throw line 14 times and hitting all 14 to go with his four assists. Pablo Coro added 17 points, Scott Friel had 15 points and eight rebounds and Ian Harward finished with 14 points on the night.
BYU-Hawaii (19-5, 13-5 PacWest) shot 53.3 percent from the field, while Hawaii Hilo (10-13, 6-11 PacWest) made 51.4 percent. The Seasiders outrebounded the Vulcans 38-28 and had seven blocks to their one. The Seasiders finished with 10 second chance points, 31 points off the bench and 44 points in the paint.
Robbie Mitchell hit a shot from downtown in the first seconds of the game to give the Seasiders the lead that they would hold for the rest of the game. A 15-2 run by BYU-Hawaii featuring 3-pointers by Cory Lange and Justin Yamzon more than doubled the Vulcans' score at 28-12 with 7:00 in the half.
A small five-point run was highlighted by a two-hand, alley-oop dunk from Jordan Stone off a Friel pass to make it a 35-16 game with 3:54 on the clock. The Seasiders strung together nine more points to extend the lead into the twenties at 44-21 with 1:10 remaining in the half.
A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Joey Rodriguez of the Vulcans sent the teams into the locker rooms at 46-26. Six-points by BYU-Hawaii in the first minutes of the second half put them up 52-29, but Hawaii Hilo fired back with a dunk by Tre Johnson. They were unable to cut too deeply into the lead as Friel's 3-pointer pushed the Seasiders up 62-40 with 15:19 in the game.
The Vulcans attempted to close the gap, but a 3-point jump shot by Luke Aston held the 20-point lead at 65-45 with 12:56 remaining. Hawaii Hilo finally broke into the BYU-Hawaii lead with a 7-0 run to make it 65-52 with 11:05 on the clock.
A jump shot by Dominique Campbell at 9:22 put Hawaii Hilo back within single digits of BYU-Hawaii at 70-61. The seesaw scoring began, but a tip in by Harward kept the Seasiders ahead 77-66. Coro hit a 3-pointer to make it an 87-76 game with 5:03 left and keep the Vulcans at bay.
Hawaii Hilo pulled back within five points of BYU-Hawaii at 3:34 after a jump shot from Darius Johnson-Wilson to make it 87-82, but the Seasiders hit their free-throws down the stretch to push the lead back to double digits and take the game.
BYU-Hawaii will face Holy Names on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Cannon Activities Center. The game will be on BYUtv and live stats and audio will be available online.