RIVERSIDE, Calif. – BYU-Hawaii men's basketball saw its second half comeback fall short in a 101-86 loss to Cal Baptist Saturday night at the Van Dyne Gym.
Tanner Nelson led the Seasiders (5-15, 3-11 PacWest) with 28 points, including four 3-pointers. Nelson shot 54.5 percent from the field, and 44.4 percent from behind the 3-point line. D McCleary came off the bench to contribute 10 points and six rebounds in 14 minutes. Shad Watson and Caeleb Roney also finished in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lancers (21-2, 13-2 PacWest) were led by Michael Smith who led all scorers with 33 points. Smith shot an impressive 68.4 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from the 3-point line. Kalidou Diouf recorded a double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Todd also recorded a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii shot 46.6 percent from the field and 32.0 percent from behind the arc. Cal Baptist hit 49.4 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from the 3-point line. The Lancers outscored the Seasiders in the paint 60-38, but BYU-Hawaii held a 31-8 advantage in bench points.
Cal Baptist took control early as they jumped out to an early 10-3 lead. Joohan Lee came off the bench to spark the Seasiders cutting into the lane for two quick layups to close the gap to five at 18-13. BYU-Hawaii struggled to slow down the Lancer's offense as they extended their lead to 12 with 9:53 remaining in the first half.
The two teams continued to trade baskets as Cal Baptist was able to maintain a double-digit lead for the next six minutes. D McCleary then provided another spark from the BYU-Hawaii reserves as he hit two free throws and a 3-pointer to bring the Seasiders back within single digits at 43-35 with four minutes left in the first half.
Jordan Heading answered for the Lancers with a 3-pointer to retake the double-digit lead with 37 seconds remaining and Cal Baptist went into the locker room with a 53-41 lead.
The Seasiders started the second half hot by forcing two turnovers and Nelson capped the 5-0 run with a make behind the arc to cut the lead to nine a minute into the half. The teams continued to trade points and Diouf found room in the post for two layups to give the Lancers another double-digit lead at 63-51 with 16:11 on the clock.
Watson provided the response for the BYU-Hawaii with his first 3-pointer of the game to cut the lead to nine and a 3-pointer and a layup by Nelson brought the Seasiders within 4 at 61-65 with 13:19 remaining. Smith answered to extend the Cal Baptist lead to nine with a layup and a 3-point play to end the run for the Seasiders.
BYU-Hawaii rallied again after Watson and Jeff Given hit back-to-back 3-pointers to bring the deficit to three. After trading baskets for the next few minutes, Nelson connected on a jumper and Watson cut to the hoop for a layup to make it 76-75 with eight minutes on the clock. The Lancers answered again with a 10-2 run capped by a Heading 3-pointer with 5:35 left on the clock. The Seasiders were unable to find the answers down the stretch as Cal Baptist continued to extend its lead to as many as 18 points on its way to victory.
BYU-Hawaii will be back in action Monday at Concordia at 7:30 PST. Live stats and video will be available online.