Men’s Basketball Survives HPU in PacWest Opener


Meredith Robinson

Jalen Brattain (seen here against Louisville in early November) scored a career-high 23 points in a 69-60 win over HPU on Tuesday.

After a tough season last year in the PacWest Conference going 7-13 (9-18 overall), the men’s basketball team opened up its conference in a brighter fashion than how they ended. 

On Tuesday night, the men’s basketball team headed to the Shark Tank to play close neighbor and rival, Hawaii Pacific University. After splitting with the Sharks last season, the Swords bested HPU in their first meetup of the season with a final score of 69-60.

Historically, Chaminade has gotten the best of HPU winning more than half of the teams’ matchups (36-20). But in the 2020-21 season, the Sharks were able to snap a seven-game win streak against the Silverswords and grab a win against them in their second matchup. 

Since then, the Swords have struggled in finding consistent success against the Sharks as HPU has beaten Chaminade three times out of the last five meetings since the start of the 2020-21 season. 

But Tuesday night’s game proved to be a change of tide as the ‘Swords’ defense overwhelmed the Sharks’ offense and oftentimes kept them from scoring or would be left with forced turnovers.

“I thought our guys did a great job executing the defensive game plan,” said Chaminade head coach Eric Bovaird. “They really locked in. They took away a lot of the things that HPU wanted to do. I give all the credit to our guys.”

Last weekend, the ‘Swords competed in the Hoops in Hawai’i Thanksgiving Classic tournament and had games on both Friday and Saturday. They rested on Sunday leaving them with only Monday to prepare for their first conference game.

But Bovaird said even with having only one day to prepare for the rivalry matchup, he was happy with his team’s execution as they bought into what the coaches had asked of them.

Jalen Brattain, a transfer from Lubbock University, hit a season-high of 23 points and 9 rebounds, just shy of his first career double-double at Chaminade. The sophomore forward also managed to grab two steals on the night.

“He’s got all kinds of skill and tons of talent…” Bovaird said. “I thought he came out and played what he’s capable of.”

Brattain attributed this success to his team’s excitement toward the rivalry matchup. 

“I’m new here but I knew how much that carries to win that game,” Brattain said. “So it was just exciting seeing all the guys hyped up. It was a fun game.”

Scott Ator, junior forward, contributed 13 points to the ‘Swords’ win while Isaac Amaral-Artharee, a redshirt junior guard, added 10 points and eight boards while scoring all of his points in the second half.

Raazhel Watkins, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, added 11 points and seven boards. 

For most of the first half, the Sharks led by as many as seven points as the Swords struggled to get their shots to fall. But at the 3:54 mark, Ross Reeves, a transfer from Snow College, buried a triple to bring the score to 26-28, closing the Sharks’ lead to two. 

Ator would follow Reeves’ triple with a successful layup to finally tie the score at 28.

CUH outscored HPU 15-6 in the last 9 minutes of the half to pull ahead 33-31. 

The second half seemed to be somewhat of the same story as HPU came out and built a very quick lead of six within the first two minutes. 

Following the same pattern that happened in the first half, for the next two minutes neither team was able to score until Amaral-Artharee, getting his first two baskets of the game, would hit back-to-back triples to tie the game at 41.

From this point on, the game would be back-and-forth as the teams began trading baskets while keeping the score close.

However, at the 6:55 minute mark, Brattain hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 54 and from there the ‘Swords were able to finally build some separation. 

Reeves would begin a CUH scoring run of 9-0 with a quick steal and layup to bring to put the ‘Swords up by two. Chaminade would finish the night with nine steals.

HPU would remain scoreless for the next two minutes during this run as it created the most separation in the second half. Leading by seven, 61-54, the Swords would maintain this lead for the rest of the game and eventually finished the Sharks off. 

The Silverswords will return home on Saturday to play the University of Hawai’i at Hilo at McCabe Gymnasium. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.