BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The No. 22 Western Washington University men’s basketball team was edged by visiting Hawai'i-Hilo, 80-76 Saturday night in the final game of the GNAC/PacWest Conference Challenge on WECU Court at Carver Gym.
The Vikings (1-1) led by as many as 14 points midway through the first half, but Hilo chipped away at the deficit pulling to within three points at halftime, and pulled ahead of WWU on a 3-pointer by Ryley Callaghan with 35-seconds remaining to pick up its first win of the season.
WWU was led by 22 points from sophomore forward Daulton Hommes (Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian) and 19 points from senior forward Deandre Dickson (Easton, CA/Bakersfield College). Dickson recorded his first double-double of the season and fifth of his career, adding a game-high 11 rebounds to his 19 points.
Junior center Logan Schilder (Bellingham, WA/Whatcom CC) continued his solid start to the season with 15 points and 9 rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Senior guard Blake Fernandez (Mountlake Terrace, WA/Edmonds CC) also reached double figures in scoring with 11 points, and tied for the team high with 5 assists.
Callaghan, a product of Port Orchard’s South Kitsap High School, scored a career-high 31 points on 7-for-14 shooting, and connected on 6 of his 8 3-point attempts. The senior guard scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half, and was a key spark behind the Vulcans’ second-half surge. Saint Martin’s transfer Trey Ingram added 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting for the Vulcans.
WWU held on to a slim lead for much of the early part of the second half, and led by as many as six points at the 10:23 mark left in the game. UHH took a 65-64 lead at the 6:58 mark going on a 10-3 run, capped by a Callaghan 3-pointer and a pair of free throws.
The back-and-forth affair continued when WWU junior guard Trey Drechsel (Woodinville, WA/Cedar Park Christian) and Ingram exchanged 3-pointers to level the score at 72-72. The Vikings took the lead at 75-74 on a short jumper by Hommes in the paint with 52-seconds remaining, but Callaghan came up with the big shot nailing a long 3-pointer with 35-seconds remaining to give the Vulcans the lead for good.
WWU built its biggest lead of the game at 23-9, but UHH answered going on an 11-5 run of its own to pull to within seven points at 23-16 at the 7:32 mark in the half. Hilo kept chipping away at the lead pulling to within four points at 37-33, following a 3-pointer by Eric Wattree III and a pair of free throws by Denhym Brooke. WWU regained a six-point lead with 4.0 seconds remaining in the half, but Ingram, hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to bring the score to 40-37 at the half.
Hommes led the Vikings with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Ingram led the Vulcans with 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting.
Simon Fraser finished the two-day, four-team tournament with a perfect 2-0 record, beating Notre Dame de Namur 80-51 in the first of the two games played Saturday in Carver Gym.
The Vikings (1-1) return to action Wednesday with a non-conference game against Douglas College (BC) at 7 pm on WECU Court at Carver Gym.
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