Maui Sports

Jet fuels BYU-Hawaii to national D-II title game

March 25, 2011, 10:24 AM HST
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By Fred Guzman

Taiwan isn’t regarded as a hotbed for college basketball talent. But Jet Chang is doing his part in putting his native island on the hoops map.

Chang scored a career-high 43 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as BYU-Hawaii out-gunned and stunned top-seeded and previously unbeaten West Liberty 110-101 in yesterday’s semifinals of the NCAA Division II tournament in Springfield, Mass.

The Seariders hit a dozen 3-pointers, including seven by Chang and four by Jake Dastrup, who finished with 18 points. Marques Whippy, a native of Fiji, added 14.

BYU got off to a flying start and led 58-47 at intermission. The Hilltoppers closed to within a point, 78-77, but BYU pulled away again for a double-digit lead and held off West Liberty the rest of the way.

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The loss ended a sensational season for West Liberty. The West Virginia-based school finished with a 33-1 mark and led the nation in scoring, averaging 111 points a game.

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In comparison, BYU-Hawaii will take a 22-8 record into Saturday’s championship game against second-ranked Bellarmine, which improved its season record to 32-2 with its 81-74 semifinal win over Minnesota State-Mankato.

Saturday’s championship game will be aired on KGMB Cstarting at 7 a.m., Hawaii time.

VOLLEYBALL: The BYU-Provo men’s volleyball team raised the spirits of the hometown fans last night.

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Shortly after the men’s basketball team was ousted by Florida in the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance, their volleyball counterparts posted an important – and decisive – victory over Hawaii.

The third-ranked Cougars won the MPSF match 25-18, 25-20, 25-22, ending UH’s victory streak at six and dropping the Bows a game behind BYU for third place in the conference.

Eighth-ranked Hawaii got 18 kills from Jonas Umlauft and 10 from Joshua Walker.

The teams meet again today at 4 p.m. Hawaii time.

BASEBALL: Hawaii will seek to capitalize on the absence of eight suspended players from Cal State Fullerton, including four starters, when the two teams open a four-game baseball series tonight at Les Murakami Stadium.

Not that the 13th-raked Titans are going to be an easy touch. Not when All-American Noe Ramirez will start in the series opener. Ramirez is 3-2 with a 2.91 ERA this season. He will be opposed by Hawaii’s Matt Saito, whose 1-2 record belies a 2.48 ERA. The Titans are 12-8 for the season, but are coming off a win over sixth-ranked Arizona State. UH is 11-9. The series continues with a twinbill on Saturday and a single game on Sunday.

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