There is a saying in sports that any road conference win is a good win.
Put another way, UH-Hilo’s men’s basketball team will take a victory at winless Notre Dame de Namur any way it can get it.
Larry Bush put the kibosh on any potential dangers Saturday, scoring 20 points as the Vuls beat the Argonauts 66-56 in Belmont, Calif., getting back to .500.
The Vuls (8-8, 6-6 Pacific West Conference) avoided what would have been a disastrous loss with accurate shooting in the second half and are tied on the sixth line in conference in closing a brief two-game road trip, rebounding from a loss at Holy Names.
Bush, James Griffin (16 points) and Kupaa Harrison (12) have established themselves as the top go-to scorers this season, and they came through when UHH found itself tied 40-40 with 12:40 remaining. Harrison made two baskets and Griffin made a 3-pointer and basket to fuel a 9-0 run, and Bush scored on three consecutive possessions with 4:30 left to keep the Vuls ahead.
Stephen Baity hit 4-of-5 three-pointers to lead the Argonauts (0-19, 0-13) with 18 points.
UHH heads home for what could be a season-defining four-game homestand, starting Friday against Azusa Pacific at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The homestand includes visits from Biola (6-6) and Academy of Art (6-7), the Vuls’ closest pursers for the sixth and final spot in the conference tournament. Holy Names (8-7) is a game and a half ahead in fifth.
The Vuls used their pressure defense to force 18 turnovers, turning them into 23 points, and they shot 54 percent from the field after going 15 of 20 in the second half.
Notre Dame de Namur shot just 40 percent, but 9 of 18 from 3-point land.
UHH’s Denhym Brooke contributed five points, five rebounds and five blocks.
• Women, UHH 49, Notre Dame de Namur 47: Sara Shimizu buried five 3-pointers, including the go-ahead basket and final points of the game with 1:52 remaining, as the Vuls ended an eight-game losing streak with their first road win of the season.
Shimizu finished with a career-high 17 points for UHH (5-11, 2-10 PacWest) and Allie Navarette added 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in a game that featured seven ties and 14 lead changes.
Jenise McKnight and Abigaail Walsh led the Argonauts (4-13, 3-10) with nine points each. A free throw by McKnight put the Vuls down 45-41 with 5:52 remaining, but Notre Dame de Namur misses eight of its final nine shot from the field, and Patience Taylor’s layup and two Shimizu 3s put UHH ahead.