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Basketball takes the road

by Chris Alcantara, associate editor

After a tough 76-72 loss to Chaminade in a PacWest conference game Feb. 5, the HPU basketball team headed for the mainland to try and pick up some late-season conference wins on a three-game road trip. Unfortunately, they dropped one to Montana State University at Billings and split a pair with Western New Mexico University.

First, Coach Russell Dung and company traveled to Silver City, N.M. to take on the Mustangs of WMNU in a two-game series. Despite a 17-point effort from senior guard Marvin Noble, WNMU shut down HPU’s offense, beating the Sea Warriors 86-63 on Feb. 10.


Sophomore forward Audrius Peciukas (11 points) and freshman forward Alex Jakovljevic (10 points) were the only other players in double figures for HPU. HPU’s leading scorer, senior guard Aaron Abrams, struggled through a rare off-night going 0-11 from the floor and managing only five points from the free-throw line.

WNMU had strong performances all around with Jason Jackson, who led all scorers with 18 points, and three other players registering double-digit scoring totals.

In game two on Feb. 12, the Sea Warriors bounced back behind a double-double from Peciukas for a PacWest victory over the Mustangs 71-60. In addition to a career-best 18 points, the Lithuania native cleaned up the glass with 13 rebounds. Senior guard Albert Tecul helped in the win, dropping in 17 points and grabbing nine boards. Abrams was able to find his groove too, as he and Noble contributed 14 points apiece.

WNMU’s Brendon Malone led all scorers with 23 points, but the Mustangs fell to 7-13 overall and 4-6 in the conference.

In the final game of the road trip Feb.14, HPU took on Division II West Region ninth-ranked MSUB. Even though all five HPU starters scored in double figures, it wasn’t enough to bring down the powerhouse Yellow Jackets in a 104-83 loss. Abrams shredded the defense for a game-high 29 points to go along with seven rebounds while his backcourt partner Noble poured in 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. Peciukas had 13 points while Tecul and junior guard Dante Sykes had 10 each, respectively.

HPU will take its record of 8-15 overall and 5-7 in Pac West play into a conference showdown with Chaminade Feb. 24.


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