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