Riverside, CA - No. 6 Hawai'i Pacific University overcame a 14-point first half deficit with a to upset No. 4 California Baptist 81-67 in PacWest Conference play Thursday night at Van Dyne Gym.
The Sharks (20-1, 12-1) won their eighth straight in taking over the lead in the conference and avenging an earlier 80-70 loss in January at the Blaisdell Center. The Lancers (20-2, 12-2) had their 12-game winning streak snapped and suffered their second home loss of the season.
"I'm so proud of our guys," said HPU head coach Darrin Vorderbruegge. "We stayed patient when we were down early and never panicked. That was the key, and Jordan (Martin) hit some big shots. It was a real team effort tonight."
Swingman Chauncey Orr, a 6-4 senior from Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green, posted his seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go with a team-high three steals to lead five Sharks in double figures. Guard Jordan Martin, a 5-11 senior from Goodyear, Ariz./Millennium, just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine boards to go with four assists, while guard Connor Looney, a 6-2 senior from Palmer, Alaska/Palmer, added 15 points with three assists. Forward Elliott DeFreitas, a 6-10 senior from Essex, England/County Upper, posted 13 points going 4-of-6 from the floor, and guard Deven Riley, a 6-3 junior from Wildomar, Calif./Elsinore, came off the bench with 10 points.
CBU had only one player score in double digits as defending PacWest Player of the Year Michael Smith chalked up 22 points and led the Lancers with eight rebounds.
HPU shot 47 percent from the field for the game (29-of-62), including 60 percent in the second half (18-of-30). The Sharks hit 33 percent from the 3-point arc (6-of-18) and 17-of-24 (71 percent) from the free throw line. HPU held Cal Baptist to a season-low 34.8 percent from the floor (23-of-66), including a season-low 21.9 percent (7-of-32) from the 3-point arc. The Lancers hit 14-of-18 (78 percent) from the charity stripe.
HPU forced CBU into 14 turnovers, while suffering only nine itself. CBU grabbed two more rebounds than the Sharks 40-38.
The Sharks opened the game by scoring the first five points and held a 10-8 lead five minutes deep.
But the Lancers answered with a 10-1 run to grab a 7-point advantage midway through the first stanza. HPU closed the lead to four when the Lancers made their biggest run of the game, 14-4, to go up 34-20 with 5:08 remaining in the half.
However, the Sharks wouldn't die. Forward Spencer Vering, a 6-6 sophomore from San Diego, Calif./Mater Dei Catholic, took advantage of a Lancer turnover, powered his way in for a layup and started a 10-0 run. Orr's layup with 1:20 left made it 34-30, but the Lancers got a 3-pointer from Casey Norris for their only points in the last five minutes to go to the half up 37-30.
HPU opened the second half on an 11-3 run, capping it with a 3-ball from Looney with 15:50 to play to erase the Lancer lead and take a 41-40 advantage.
After swapping the lead, CBU built back a four-point 52-48 lead 11:34 to go. Coming out of a media timeout, HPU went on a 6-0 run to take the lead at 54-52. The Lancers followed with a layup from Kalidou Diouf to tie game at 54. It would be the only points CBU would get in the next two minutes and 20 seconds.
The next possession, Riley answered with a layup to give HPU a lead it wouldn't relinquish and started a 12-2 run to put HPU up by 10 at 66-56 with 4:48 to go.
The Sharks stayed cool down the stretch, outscoring the No. 4 Lancers 15-9 in the last four minutes while hitting 9-of-10 from the free throw line. HPU finished with a 14-point win 81-67.
The sixth ranked Sharks don't have much time to enjoy the win as they travel to Irvine to continue their Southern California trip when they face Concordia (Calif.) at the CU Arena. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. HST (7:30 p.m. PST).