After two days of trouble in paradise, the UAA men’s basketball team finally tasted success in Hawaii on Saturday.
The Seawolves held on to beat Hawaii-Hilo 66-64 on the last day of the DII Power Invitational in Honolulu.
Oggie Pantovic put on a shooting clinic on his way to a career-high 22 points and Tobin Karlberg,Tyler Brimhall and Niko Bevens joined him in double figures to lead the Seawolves.
The victory came after two straight losses at the Hawaii Convention Center — 88-68 Friday to nationally ranked Southeastern Oklahoma and 83-74 Thursday to Arkansas-Monticello.
The win improved the Seawolves to 9-4, and perhaps more importantly gives them a 6-1 record against fellow West Region teams. A team’s region record is a critical factor in determining who gains a postseason berth.
UAA led 36-26 at the half but Hilo went on a 9-0 run to tie the game 49-49 with a little more than seven minutes to play.
Pantovic gave UAA the lead for good, 63-62, with a pair of free throws with 2:30 left. He made it 65-62 with a layup at 1:47, and after Hilo answered with two free throws, he hit one more free throw with 64 seconds left for the final points of the game.
Hilo (3-5) missed a pair of 3-point attempts in the final minute, including one at the buzzer.
Pantovic, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, made 8 of 10 shots from the field and 6 of 8 from the foul line to help UAA survive a 30-point game from Kupaaa Harrison, who sank 14 of 17 free throws.
Both teams scored 21 points at the foul line but UAA had a 18-6 scoring edge from 3-point range. Karlberg (14 points), Brimhall (13) and Bevens (10) each netted two 3-pointers.
UAA shot a poor 37.5 percent from the field but survived behind a 37-27 rebounding edge. Brimhall grabbed a game-high 10 boards and Pantovic added nine. DeAndre Osuigwe gave the Seawolves a boost with five assists, five rebounds and two steals.
On Friday, Brimhall scored a season-high 20 points in the lopsided loss to Southeastern Oklahoma.
The Seawolves were plagued with illness and injury while in Hawaii — a virus limited playing time for point guard Jack Macdonald and injuries did the same for forward David Riley and guard Tyrus Hosley. Hosley sat out Saturday’s game with his injury.
Now they’ll all will get some time to recover — UAA is off until Jan. 2, when it heads to Seattle for a conference game against Seattle Pacific.
“I’m extremely proud of our group to be able to grind out that game today and get a win,” UAA coach Rusty Osborne said in a release from the school. “We came in undermanned and banged up, and we fought through foul trouble all night, but we found a way to get it done.
"Obviously we had a big advantage inside when Oggie was in the game, and our guards did a tremendous job of feeding him the ball. Hopefully we can use these few extra days off to heal up and be 100 percent for GNAC play after the New Year.”