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HPU denies Vulcans. drops to BYU-H

by Saida Oliver and Sophie Schmidt. staff writers

Aaron Abrams was the inspiration in two recent Sea Warrior games, leading the HPU basketball team to victory against University of Hawai‘i Hilo’s Vulcan’s, 75-64, Feb. 1 at Mid-Pacific Institute and dropping a one-point heartbreaker to Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i, 69-70, Jan. 22.

Abrams earned a game-high 27 points against Hilo, with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals en-route to being named Geico Insurance Player of the Game.

After trailing Hilo during the first half, HPU stepped up its game. With only minutes left in the first half and HPU down by six points, Abrams cut the deficit in half with a three pointer. Within the last 40 seconds, forward Jay Bussey’s lay-up tied the score at 34. Once HPU increased its offensive game, Hilo was never able to catch up. The Vulcans didn’t make it easy; however, Joe Travis recorded a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Sea Warrior point guard Dante Sykes helped HPU by adding 16 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Guard Albert Tecul also chipped in a double-double, grabbing 12 points and 10 rebounds.
HPU’s win set Hilo back to 11-7 in the PacWest while HPU’s record improved to 7-12 overall and 4-4 in the PacWest.

When asked the difference between HPU and Hilo’s style of play, Sykes said, “They have never been in any close games. They didn’t feel so confident and we fed off that.”

The game against BYU-H was exciting right up to the end, when BYU-H’s Austin Smylie scored the victory points in the last 20 seconds of the game. Abrams scored 26 against the Seasiders, with 10 of 16 shots from the field and five of seven from the three-point range.

“ We were right in the game at the second half,” said Abrams after the game, “but then we allowed [them] a decisive rebound in the last minute, which was the reason why we lost.”
In the last minute of the game, BYU-H, behind 8 points, started their comeback by scoring on an HPU offensive foul. “BYUH is a good team. They play well together,” Abrams said.


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