LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii men's basketball fell 94-83 to Concordia University Irvine Thursday night at the Cannon Activities Center.
"We knew they were going to be aggressive, but talking about how aggressive somebody's going to be and actually being there are two different stories," BYU-Hawaii head coach Gabriel Roberts said. "That really made this game turn into a tale of two completely different halves. They came out and were aggressive from the tip, so at halftime we adjusted and didn't even talk too much about offense or defense, we just talked about intensity. We have to play with more intensity, and I thought the guys did a really great job of coming out in the second half with lots of energy, never giving up, and fighting their way back to make it a competitive game."
Tanner Nelson led all players with 25 points shooting 71 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc. Denhym Brooke added 17 points with nine boards for BYU-Hawaii (3-10, 1-6 PacWest) while D McCleary scored a career-high 15 points.
Justin Davis, Case Bruton, Cameron English and Josh Hauser each scored 12 for Concordia (8-6, 4-2 PacWest).
The Seasiders shot 52.5 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from the 3-point line, while holding the Eagles to 40.8 percent and 31.3 percent, respectively. Concordia outrebounded the Seasiders 40-32, but BYU-Hawaii had 19 assists to the Eagles' 12.
Bruton hit a jump shot to spark a 9-2 run for the Eagles to put them ahead 12-4 with 14:11 until halftime. Nelson boosted the Seasiders with a three, but Tad Dufelmeier responded to with a pair of made free throws. The teams traded baskets for the next several minutes. Nelson hit two layups to keep the Seasiders in the game, but the Eagles extended their lead to 12 when Geoff Gerlach made a jump shot with 8:07 left until the break.
Nelson sank two more jumpers in response, but Concordia continued to add to its lead slowly making it 33-19 with 5:24 until half. The Eagles went on a 7-2 run at the end of the half to lead 44-27 with just over a minute remaining. McCleary hit a jumper and a layup for the Seasiders' last offense of the first half before they went into the locker room with the Eagles up 47-31.
Concordia quickly extended its lead to 26 with a 9-0 run sparked with a layup from Bruton. Perkins was fouled on an offensive rebound and put-back to light some momentum for the Seasiders and spark a 7-point run secured by another jumper by Nelson. McCleary and Kikuchi sunk two free throws each to bring BYU-Hawaii within 11 with 10:28 left in the game.
The Eagles matched it with a 7-0 run of their own in the next minute and a half to lead by 18 again with 9:12 to play. The teams traded baskets for a few minutes until Brooke threw down a dunk to ignite another Seasider run. Andrade took the ball coast-to-coast for a layup before McCleary drained two more free throws to put BYU-Hawaii within 10 with 4:52 to go. Despite the Seasiders' increased efforts, they were unable to close the gap by more than 10.
BYU-Hawaii returns to the court Saturday at 3 p.m. HST to face Azusa Pacific. Live stats will be available online and a tape-delay broadcast on BYUtv.