HILO, Hawaii – Junior point guard Justin Yamzon came through in the clutch to lead BYU-Hawaii men's basketball to an 83-70 victory over Hawaii Hilo on Saturday at UHH Gymnasium.
Yamzon led all players with 20 points, including an 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line, and added four assists. Senior center Ian Harward had a strong second half finishing with 18 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Cory Lange added a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while senior forward Scott Friel had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Seasiders (4-2, 1-0 PacWest).
Patrick Ball came off the bench to lead the Vulcans (0-5, 0-1 PacWest) with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists.
BYU-Hawaii shot 41.3 percent from the field and held Hilo to 38 percent. The Seasiders also held a 10-point advantage on points in the paint and a 12-point advantage on second chance points.
Tanner Nelson opened the game with a jump shot as the teams traded points to a 4-4 tie. Yamzon made a 3-pointer from the left corner to cap a 5-point spurt and give the Seasiders the 9-4 and they would never look back.
After the Vulcans closed within one, Harward connected on a short jumper and Yamzon connected again from behind the arc to extend the lead back to two possessions at 14-8 with 15:42 left.
After Hilo closed again, Willie Ching made back-to-back layups for the Seasiders to make it 24-16. Solomone Wolfgramm laid the ball with three minutes remaining in the half to give BYU-Hawaii its first double-digit lead at 35-25.
After Lange connected on a 3-point jumper to extend the lead to 11, Russell Jordan led the Vulcans on a quick 5-0 run to cut the lead to six. Yamzon hit a jumper and Justin Park added two free throws to give the Seasiders the 42-34 advantage at the break.
After Hilo cut back to within six to begin the second half, Harward sparked a 9-2 run with a tip-in and Lange capped it with an old-fashioned 3-point play and a dunk to give BYU-Hawaii the 57-45 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Russell again helped the Vulcans get back within reach after a 3-point jumper made it 57-52 with 10 minutes on the clock. Harward, Park and Yamzon helped keep Hilo at arm's length over the next five minutes holding a slim 69-62 lead going into the final minutes.
The Seasiders and Vulcan's continued to trade buckets, but BYU-Hawaii was able to slowly pull away from the charity stripe in the final two minutes of game time.
The Seasiders and Vulcans will battle again on Saturday at the Cannon Activities Center at 7:30 p.m. HST. Live stats, video and audio will be available online.