By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Senior Night was an enjoyable experience for the University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s basketball team, but only until the last game at home was long over.
Under a hail of second-half 3-pointers, Chaminade buried the Vulcans 103-72 in a Pacific West Conference game Tuesday night at UHH Gym.
De’Andre Haskins did the most damage, scoring 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, and Waly Coulibaly added 19 points, sinking 4 of 6 from long distance, for the Silverswords (17-8, 14-3 PacWest). The Swords made 10 of 18 or 56 percent on 3-pointers in the second half.
The Vulcans (6-18, 4-12) lose six seniors, including four starters or heavy contributors in CJ Brown, Michael Melonas, Kiel Myers and Mychael Hearn. The other seniors are Daniel Perry and Paul Batausa, who has started Tuesday for the fourth time and logs about 22 minutes per game.
Brown, Hearn and Melonas all had 17 points to offer balanced scoring for the Vuls, who couldn’t plop in 3-pointers (3 for 21) or stop the other guys from making them (12 of 26).
Then after the game was over the UHH seniors could dunk the ball or shoot without worry about any Silversword swatting it away. That’s the joy of the final home-game festivities — even when you miss you get to shoot again.
“It’s a really good group. All of them are going to graduate, two (Myers and Hearn) graduate in the spring,” UHH coach Jeff Law said. “To come out of junior college and do it in two years is very, very special. The others are on track to graduate in December.
“We went through rough times, grew from that, underachieved and didn’t get some things done as far as wins and losses go. But the group grew up, became adults and learned to embrace Hilo. They learned a lot in that regard.”
With the exit of another senior class, it only gets harder for Law to stretch his scholarships and fill his roster, mainly because the cost of living keeps going up and his allowance remains the same.
NCAA Division II men’s and women’s basketball are allowed 10 full scholarships; it’s 13 for Division I men and 15 for women.
Instead of scholarship amounts, Law has a bag of scholarship money, and three different tuition rates cutting into his pizza pie. Players from in-state and WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange) areas — like Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada for example — eat up less money than some recruit from the East Coast or a foreign country.
“If we got a round number like $100,000 and the five we lost last year, now it’s $3,000 more per kid,” Law said. “It’s always a tough time to find more bang for you buck. The private school have one tuition level for everybody. They could get somebody anywhere. It’s clear cut for them. Here, it’s not clear cut.
“For room, board and a scholarship for a Hawaii kid, you’re looking at $13,000. A kid with a good grade-point average from a WUE state it’s $18,000 or $19,000. For the East Coast or International, it’s 28 or 29. Last year, a kid from Florida or New York was $26,000. It went up $3,000. Usually, the piece of the pie stays the same size. It’s not an easy thing at all.”
Chaminade 43 60 — 103
UHH 30 42 — 72