Vulcan basketball teams sweep FPU Sunbirds

FRESNO, Calif. — UH-Hilo’s basketball teams both notched victories over Fresno Pacific in Pacific West Conference action on Thursday night.

The Vulcans wrap up their road trip back down in Southern California against Westmont today before returning for one last home contest against HPU on March 2 for Senior Night.




With just a few games to go, the UH-Hilo men’s basketball team continued to march closer toward the postseason with a 74-68 win.

The Vulcans sank a season-high 24 free throws (.686 on 35 attempts) led by Kalique Mitchell going 11 of 15 at the charity stripe. The Sunbirds shortened the score gap to just a single possession a handful of times through the second half, but Mitchell got to the free throw line to extend UH-Hilo’s lead each time.

Zoar Nedd splashed five 3-pointers (.833) as he and Mitchell both totaled 17 points and eight rebounds each. Carlos Ramsey Jr. led with 20 points.

FPU’s Isaac Peralta managed to cap his scoring total at 26 points to make the game just a four-point score with 34 seconds remaining, but Mitchell, Jarin Edwards and Jake Kosakowski sank shots from the charity stripe to ice the victory.

The two teams previously met in Hilo in early Decemeber with the Vulcans victorious, 70-60.

UH-Hilo moved to a 16-11 overall record (10-8 PacWest) while Fresno Pacific moved to 5-12 in conference play (7-18 overall).

The top six teams at the end of the regular season will make it to San Diego for the 2023-24 PacWest Conference Tournament set for March 7-9 at Point Loma’s Golden Gymnasium.

UH-Hilo remained at No. 5, one spot behind Biola. Fresno Pacific is last in the standings.

Point Loma, Academy of Art and HPU have already clinched three of the postseason berths.



Not one, not two, not three … but five was the final count of attempts the Sunbirds had at tying the game in the final seconds, but the Vulcans defense prevailed as UH-Hilo women’s basketball continued its push for the postseason with a 60-58.

Erica Ingram led UH-Hilo with eight rebounds and a season-high 15 points (three 3-pointers), including the Vulcans’ final bucket from the field to take a 58-56 lead with a minute and half remaining.

Fresno Pacific managed to tie the game with 45 seconds left on a pull-up jumper from the free throw line, but Kaile Cruz quickly drove down the either end of the court and drew the foul on her driving shot attempt. Taking just the Vulcans’ eighth and ninth attempts of the night — in contrast to FPU’s 20 total free throw attempts — Cruz drained both shots for the 60-58 advantage.

The Sunbirds had possession through all final 35 ticks of the contest but they came up empty as UH-Hilo held on for the win to continue fighting for a postseason berth.

Thursday’s match was a tight battle with 14 tied scores and 17 lead changes. The Vulcans shot 7 of 13 from beyond the arc, posting a second-highest percentage of .538 of the season.

The two teams previously met in Hilo in early December with the Sunbirds winning, 70-58.

UH-Hilo moved to a 12-12 overall record (9-9 PacWest) while Fresno Pacific moved to 12-5 in conference play (18-7 overall).

UH-Hilo is still just on the playoff bubble at No. 7 behind Biola (9-8) and Concordia University Irvine (10-8).

Fresno Pacific, along with Point Loma (12-6) and Azusa Pacific (18-0), have already clinched spots for the PacWest Championship.

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