Preston Beverly didn’t start for Point Loma, but he sure did finish.
The silky-smooth forward flashed his all-around game, scoring 26 points with eight rebounds and five assists Saturday night as the Sea Lions routed the decimated Vulcans 85-62 at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
A game-time decision on whether he’d play, Devin Johnson scored 14 points with six rebounds for UH-Hilo (4-13, 3-7 Pacific West Conference), but leading scorer Trey Ingram, another game-time decision, didn’t play.
The Sea Lions (16-7, 10-4) won for the 11th time in 13 games, taking advantage of a Vulcans team that has lost six in a row.
Also missing two key inside players, junior Jared Roffler made his third start of the season and grabbed seven rebounds.
“I told the guys, this is just like life,” Vuls coach GE Coleman said in a release. “Things like injuries happen, you have just to keep trying to figure it out. … You just have to keep getting up each day and pressing on. We still have a lot of basketball yet to be played.”
UH-Hilo still has more than a third of its season remaining, including games Fresno Pacific on Thursday and Dominican on Saturday to close the homestand.
It might be almost as simple to surmise that once Beverly checked in with 14:48 to go in the first half that it was game over. Tied 6-6, the 6-foot-7 junior hit a 3-pointer that Randan Berinobis (13 points, six rebounds) answered a few possessions later, but Point Loma went on a 10-0 run and the Vulcans never seriously threatened from there.
UHH was outrebounded 42-28 and shot just 37.1 percent.
• With Point Loma beginning to play like the team that was the co-favorite in the PacWest preseason poll, UH-Hilo fell behind early, never found its shot and lost 76-50.
The Vulcans (6-7, 4-6) entered with realistic hopes of reaching the playoffs, but maybe they weren’t so realistic considering their preseason hopes of having a dynamic backcourt duo are a distant memory.
Safia Sheikh joined Kim Schmelz (redshirt) on the bench for this one, and although Allie Navarette was game with 19 points, it wasn’t enough as the Vulcans shot just 23.6 percent, including 3 of 18 from 3-point range.
Roya Rustamzada scored 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting for Point Loma (12-9, 7-7), which has won three of four.
Navarette battled an illness all week, as well as on the most recent road trip, and played only 23 minutes, scoring 13 points in the first half.
Danielle Dacosta finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.