IRVINE, Calif. – BYU-Hawaii men's basketball fell 92-75 to Azusa Pacific University Friday evening in the semifinal of the PacWest Basketball Championships at CU Arena.
Ian Harward recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also recorded a block and a steal. Scott Friel contributed 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds, two steals, and a block. Justin Yamzon recorded 13 points while shooting 80 percent from the field and 75 percent from beyond the arc.
Bruce English and Petar Kutlesic led the Cougars in scoring with 21 points apiece. Kutlesic recorded a double-double with 13 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii (15-12, 11-9 PacWest) shot 43.3 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from the 3-point line compared to Azusa Pacific's (22-7, 15-5 PacWest) 50.7 and 40 percent, respectively. The Seasiders outrebounded the Cougars 39-37.
The Cougars jumped to an early lead with quick back-to-back shots to put them up 4-0, but the Seasiders were able to tie it up with a layup from Cory Lange and a jumper from Tanner Nelson. Azusa Pacific and BYU-Hawaii traded baskets for the next several minutes until a small run gave the Cougars a six point lead at the first media timeout.
Yamzon hit a 3-pointer and a jumper and Harward added a pair of free throws to lead BYU-Hawaii back into the game. The Seasiders took their first lead of the game when Justin Park hit a layup to put them ahead 16-15 with 13:07 left until halftime.
Two free throws from Friel extended BYU-Hawaii's lead to three. Corey Langerveld for Azusa Pacific retaliated with a made jumpshot, but Lange hit a jumpshot of his own to keep the Seasiders ahead by three.
The Cougars tied the game up again with a 3-pointer from Bruce English and took off on a 10-1 run to take a 30-21 lead with 8:16 left in the first half. Yamzons scored on a layup and Lange added a shot behind the arc to close the gap to four, but English answered with a make of his own from deep and the Cougars' offense settled in again to take the 10-point lead with 5:28 until halftime.
Yamzon sunk another three and Lange hit two free throws to send the Seasiders on a quick five-point burst, but back-to-back jumpers from Azusa Pacific pushed BYU-Hawaii's point deficit to 11.
Yamzon turned around and swished another 3-pointer, followed by back-to-back 3-point jumpers and a block from Harward with a minute to go in the half, but the Seasiders trailed 53-44 at halftime.
Harward and Friel each hit layups to boost BYU-Hawaii's offense at the start of the second half, cutting Azusa Pacific's lead to five right away. The Cougars answered with two made buckets of their own, and the half was right back where it started with Azusa Pacific leading by nine with 17:37 left in the game.
The two teams traded baskets again for the next several minutes until Azusa Pacific went on a 12-4 run, powered by eight consecutive points from Cardwell. The Cougars led 75-61 with 8:46 remaining.
Friel was fouled on a made jumper and completed the three-point play in an effort to get some momentum rolling in the Seasiders' favor, but Joey Schreiber and Petar Kutlesic answered with made shots to increase Azusa Pacific's advantage.
Friel went on to swish two jump shots in a row, but back-and-forth scoring for the rest of the half wasn't enough to help the Seasiders climb back.
BYU-Hawaii will return to the court next season.