From the outside, the University of Hawaii at Hilo had one of its best efforts of the season.
The way Dixie State dominated on the inside, it hardly mattered.
There were a few uneven stat lines in the Vulcans’ 97-69 loss Thursday night in St. George, Utah, none bigger than a 57-27 rebounding disadvantage.
Darnell Williams scored a game-high 20 points for the Vulcans (3-17, 0-14 Pacific West Conference), who never led and fell out of contention early in the second half of their 15th straight defeat.
UHH shot 12 of 24 from the 3-point line, but it was outscored in the paint 36-12 and the margin in second-chance points was 29-3 in favor of the Red Storm (18-4, 12-4).
Jordan Rex, a 6-foot-9 center, grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds — in only 24 minutes of playing time — to go along with nine points for Dixie State, and Curtis Papenfuss, a 6-8 forward, posted his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Robbins scored 13 of his 17 points after the Red Storm took a 50-40 lead into halftime. Their advantage grew to as big as 34 late in the game.
Despite their proficiency from beyond the 3-point line, UHH shot 39.7 percent. Derek Owens finished with 11 points and Yevgeniy Dyachenko made three 3-pointers for nine points.
Dixie State 77, UHH 54: Guard Haley Holmstead scored 39 points on 16-of-28 shooting as the Red Storm broke open a game that was tied 26-26 at the half in St. George, Utah.
“As good a scorer as I’ve seen in the PacWest in my four years,” UHH coach David Kaneshiro said of Holmstead. “Give her credit, she made some tough shots. We didn’t make it easy on her a lot of the time.”
Taylor Mann, 6-2, had a big game for Dixie State (11-11, 9-7, PacWest) in the paint, grabbing a school-record 26 rebounds and scoring 16 points.
McKenzie Mangino led the Vulcans (6-12, 5-9) with 13 points, and Kamie Imai contributed 11.
Holmstead hit four baskets midway through the second half to engineer a 15-0 run that gave the Red Storm a 56-43 lead with 8:29 remaining.
“It got away from us,” Kaneshiro said.
Neither team was good from 3-point range. UHH was 2 of 19 and the Red Storm were 0 of 10.
UHH remains two games ahead of Chaminade for the sixth and final spot in the league playoffs.
The UHH men and women face Cal Baptist on Saturday in Riverside, Calif.