Thursday | January 19, 2017
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College basketball: Vulcans can’t find comfort zone in loss to Concordia

A little something new worked for a while, but along the way the Hawaii Hilo men’s basketball team lost a little of what it has relied on, and then it lost a squeezed tight Pacific West Conference game to Concordia University Irvine Saturday at Hilo Civic, 77-69.

The loss dropped the Vulcans to 5-7 and 3-4 in the Pacific West Conference after two home losses this week to two of the best in the conference. Earlier in the week it was a tight loss to Azusa Pacific, the two-time defending champion, and then came the feisty Eagles (9-6, 4-3 in PWC) with an aggressive, penetrating offense that posed issues.

To combat the difficulties, UHH coach GE Coleman sent his team out in a rare zone defense that was designed to limit thrusts to the basket, and for the most part, that was successful, but they didn’t count on guard Brian Chambers, a sophomore from Long Beach, Calif., lighting up the scoreboard with five 3-pointers in seven attempts.

“We’re not good enough to cover them one-on-one,” Coleman said. “I was hoping with the zone we could limit them to no more than six (3-pointers), but they got eight.

“We are at the point where we have to get past learning lessons,” he said. “We’re 3-4 and we haven’t won a game on the road. That has to change, immediately.”

Chambers finished with 25 points, tops for both teams, but Hawaii Hilo didn’t get its normal offensive output.

Leading scorer, senior Parker Farris, was held to 14 points, eight below his average, and while Brian Ishola came through with a team-high 19 points, only guard Ryley Callaghan was the other Vulcan to score in double figures with 12.

Ishola was force at the start of the game, seeming to grab every loose rebound while making a series of tough shots inside.

in the second half, Concordia jumped all over him inside, limiting Ishola to just one second half rebound. He finished with seven boards to go along with his 19 points.

The Eagles started out with a rush in the second half, breaking a 37-37 tie with a 12-3 run that played around three Concordia 3-pointers, two of them by Chambers. Only Eric Wattree’s 3-point shot helped the Vulcans in that run and by the time Farris scored a layup and converted the free throw to make it 49-43 with 13:25 left, UHH had gone 4:25 without a field goal.

Neither team had much success against the other’s defense in the first half when UHH led most of the way but the Eagles made two of their three first half 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the half to take a 33-30 lead.

The Vulcans struggled offensively against a taller defense but they held their own inside with a 21-18 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes with Ishola leading the crew with six boards, five of them on the defensive end.

Hawaii Hilo stayed in touch throughout the first half thanks in no small part to its free throw shooting, where it went 13-for-16, but its 1-for-9 effort from beyond the 3-point arc prevented the Vulcans from taking the lead.

 

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