The UH-Hilo men’s basketball team played the most dangerous type of opponent on Sunday: an angry one.
The Vulcans embarrassed Hawaii Pacific a day earlier by 20 points. The Sharks were their own worst enemy with a whopping 29 turnovers, which led to 32 points for UHH.
In the Book of Brady, embarrassment leads to anger. Anger leads to extra motivation. Extra motivation leads to a gigantic chip on your shoulder. That’s been the driving force for the entire career of Tom Brady, the NFL’s most famous sixth-round draft pick.
Imagine being a Shark and asked by parents, relatives, and friends, “What happened?”
Fired up or not, the Vulcans still beat the Sharks 71-62 on Sunday in a PacWest pod game at the Shark Tank, formerly the home gym of Saint Francis on Oahu.
“Our mindset was to leave it all out on the floor, especially on the defensive end, something we emphasized coming out of film and our team meeting,” UHH coach Kaniela Aiona said. “We talked about getting three stops in a row, to break the game down into little bits and pieces. We got three stops in a row four times in the first half. That was a big part of getting that lead at halftime.”
UHH led 37-23 at halftime, sparked by Sasa Vuksanovic’s 13 points.
“Sasa got 20 and 11 again, a repeat performance,” Aiona said. “Aniwani Tait-Jones had a double-double and did most of his work in the second half. It was great to see him finish with a double-double.”
Even better for Vuksanovic was his free throw shooting. He made 4 of 6 from the charity stripe and shot 8 of 16 from the field.
Tait-Jones scored 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Darren Williams added 14 points for the Vulcans (5-1 overall, 5-1 PacWest), who shot 47% from the field.
The Sharks (0-4 0-4) outscored UHH in the second half 39-34 but still remain winless. HPU shot 38% from the floor and took better care of the ball and finished with just 13 turnovers.
Lachlan Viney scored 23 points, and David Rowlands added 13 points, including just four points in the first half, for the Sharks.
“I’m really proud of their effort. It’s really hard to beat a team two days in a row,” Aiona said. “HPU came out fired up, but I give credit to our guys. We jumped on them in the first half. They were aggressive in the second half, but hat’s off to our guys. They took care of business. It was a business trip for us, and we accomplished that when we played together.”
HPU 73, UHH 64: Kim Schmelz had a nice game with 18 points on 7- of-14 shooting in 33 minutes for the Vulcans (2-5 overall, 2-4 PacWest), who led by as many as 18 points in scoring 28 during the second quarter.
But Olivia West went off against UHH’s perimeter defense for 26 points on 6 of 11 shooting and made 12 of 13 free throws.
Ally Bates added 17 points, and Amy Baum had 15 points for the Sharks (6-0, 5-0), who converted 8 of 19 from 3-point range.
Bree Olson came off the bench and scored 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting in 23 minutes, and Mandi Kawaha added 10 points and dished out eight assists.
The Vulcans are now 1-26 lifetime against the Sharks.