Wild final day lands Dixie State 4th title, gives HPU berth in PacWest Tournament

De'Quan Thompson PHOENIX, Ariz. – Anyone tuning into the final Saturday of the Pacific West Conference men’s basketball schedule may have thought that the inaugural PacWest Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament scheduled for March 7-9 at Azusa Pacific University had started five days prematurely.

Intense playoff atmospheres featuring games stretching from California to Hawai‘i led to roller-coaster emotions, excruciating disappointment, and three overtime contests that had a major impact on berths and seeding in the PacWest Tournament.

When the final overtime buzzer sounded in Honolulu, Hawai‘i Pacific’s improbable 88-82 comeback win after being down 13 points late in regulation at Chaminade turned the looming PacWest Men’s Tournament into an unpredictable roll of the proverbial dice.

Dixie State (20-6/15-3) entered Saturday knowing that a win would give the Red Storm its fourth consecutive PacWest Championship even if Chaminade and Grand Canyon had won their final games.

The Red Storm thundered by Point Loma 68-47 in San Diego late Saturday afternoon, securing the league crown before the rest of the conference had really tipped off their games. De’Quan Thompson (right) scored 16 points, while Zach Robbins and Steve Larson contributed 14 each in the victory after the Red Storm jumped to a 39-17 halftime lead.

Dixie State now has claimed outright championships the last two seasons and extended its streak to four consecutive PacWest titles. The Red Storm shared the championship with Chaminade in 2010-11 and BYU-Hawaii in 2009-10.

Dixie State also will be the number one seed when the PacWest Tournament begins March 7 at Azusa Pacific University’s Felix Event Center.

Once Dixie claimed wrapped up first place, Dominican and Academy of Art were next in line on Saturday evening. The Penguins already were locked into playing BYU-Hawaii in the opening round on Thursday at 8 p.m., but which team was the fourth seed and which was the fifth seed was in the hands of Dominican if they could knock off – and knock out – the Urban Knights.

Jammall Clark Art U, meanwhile, controlled its own path to the post-season if the Urban Knights could beat Dominican.

In the evening’s first overtime contest, a frantic battle saw four Urban Knights reach twin-figures, but it was not enough as the Penguins beat Academy of Art 80-78 to grab the fourth seed. Dominican’s Jammall Clark (left) scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Dominique Taplin tallied 12 points and Myles Carrillo scored 11.

Despite 17 points from Ameer Shamsud-din, 16 each from Alex Carmon and Bryan Fisher, and 14 by Aaron Anderson, Academy of Art’s hope for a trip to Azusa Pacific was in the hands of Chaminade several thousand miles away.

Although it was for seeding purposes, Dominican needed the win to be fourth since BYU-Hawaii – behind Okesene Ale’s 26 points and Pablo Coro’s 24 – defeated Hawai‘i Hilo 91-86 late on Saturday night.

With Dixie State the top seed, and Dominican and BYU-Hawaii set at fourth and fifth, respectively, Grand Canyon was attempting to secure a first-round bye as the second seed by beating Azusa Pacific on Saturday.

But the Cougars temporarily dashed that hope and pried open the door for Chaminade to steal the second seed by snatching a 78-71 overtime win from the Antelopes behind 25 points from Troy Leaf and 19 from B.J. Porter.

Killian Larson and Joshua Lowery tallied 15 each for GCU, with Larson pulling down a dozen rebounds.

All eyes shifted toward Honolulu where the battle between Chaminade and Hawai‘i Pacific in the wee Sunday morning hours – at least on the Mainland – would decide the seeding and the final list of teams for the inaugural PacWest Men’s Basketball Championships Tournament.

With 7:30 left in regulation, Chaminade built a 68-55 lead that seemed to secure the second seed and first-round bye for the Silverswords and force Grand Canyon into an opening-round contest vs. Academy of Art.

But in the span of just under two minutes, the Sea Warriors put together one of the most exhilarating performances of the 2012-13 season by unleashing a 10-0 run to pull within three at 68-65.

The run ultimately extended to 20-7 to close out regulation, leaving the teams tied at 75-75 and bound for the PacWest’s third overtime of the night.

In overtime the Sea Warriors outscored the Silverswords 13-7 with Max Livingston recording seven points alone for HPU.

Marko Cukic had a tremendous game, scoring 21 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and making 8 of 9 field goal attempts. Livingston and Kawika Lyons each scored 14 points, while Malte Ziegenhagen tallied 12.

De’Andre Haskins posted 30 points and nine rebounds for the Silverswords, while Bennie Murray tallied 17 and Kevin Hu came off the bench for 11.

The HPU victory knocked Academy of Art from the post-season, returned Grand Canyon’s first-round bye as the Antelopes slid back into the second seed, and forced Chaminade into the third-seed and an opening-round playoff contest against – ironically – the same pesky Sea Warriors.

The 2013 PacWest Men’s Basketball Tournament begins this Thursday, March 7, with #6 HPU and #3 Chaminade squaring off again in the first game at 5:30 p.m. PST. At 8 p.m., #4 Dominican takes on #5 BYU-Hawaii in the final contest of the day.

2013 PacWest Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament Schedule

Thursday, March 7 (First Round)

  • #6 Hawai‘i Pacific vs. #3 Chaminade - 5:30 p.m. PST
  • #4 Dominican vs. #5 BYU-Hawaii - 8 p.m. PST

Friday, March 8 (Semifinals)

  • #6/#3 winner vs. #2 Grand Canyon - 5:30 p.m. PST
  • #4/#5 winner vs. #1 Dixie State - 8 p.m. PST

Saturday, March 9

  • Championship - 7:30 p.m. PST

Tickets for the tournament may be purchased at the box office that will open one hour before each session. To ensure tickets, fans are encouraged to reserve their seats in advance.

Advance tickets for the inaugural PacWest Men's Basketball Championship Tournament are on sale and may be purchased online by clicking PacWest Basketball Tournament, or by calling the Felix Event Center Box Office at 626-815-5494.

A 12-game, three-day All-Tournament Pass for adults is just $35 – or less than $3 per game – while a One-Day Pass is $15 for adults.

The 12-game, three-day All-Tournament Pass is $25 for seniors (60 and better), children (ages 7-17), college students (with ID) and military personnel (with ID). The One-Day Pass for these fans is $10.