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Men's Basketball - Sat, Jan. 21, 2017 - posted by Seth Preuss
Josh Smith led HIU with 14 points off the bench and also tallied two blocks (Photo by Liza Rosales)
Josh Smith led HIU with 14 points off the bench and also tallied two blocks (Photo by Liza Rosales)
(RV)Vanguard University
(RV)Hope International

FULLERTON, CA – (RV) Hope International University hosted the (RV) Vanguard Lions on Saturday night, January 21 in the Darling Pavilion and grabbed its fifth GSAC win of the year after a hard-fought battle against the Lions. Neither side played beautiful basketball, but in the end HIU's grit won out and the Royals escaped with a 14-point win in regulation for their third-straight GSAC win.

"It was a real physical game, guys getting bumped all over the place, and the intensity and effort that both teams were putting in made it difficult for both teams to score tonight," Coach Bill Czech said after the game. "We had to grind this one out, they were really prepared for us and we were prepared for them – every basket was just very hard to score, both teams knew what the other was trying to do at all times.

Vanguard came to play and led HIU by as many as nine points early in the game after a jumper with 13:37 to play made it 6-15. Coach Czech inserted his reserves and liked the energy they offered in the lineup, saying afterwards "at the beginning of the game [Vanguard] came out and jumped us a little bit and when we subbed in Isaac Douglass (FR/Yorba Linda, CA), Daniel Young (JR/Las Vegas, NV), Josh Smith (SR/National City, CA), and Charles Trotter (SO/Slidell, LA), the energy level really went up."

That energy showed up in the box score with two blocks each from Young and Smith with 16 rebounds in total from the bench unit during the game. The reserves played long stretches in the first half and helped HIU outscored the Lions 20-8 down the stretch to lead 26-23 at the half – the bench scored 19 of the 20 points during the comeback and held Vanguard without a three-point shot in the first half.

The Royals trailed 28-29 five minutes into the second half after a jumper from the Lions, but a timely triple by Devin Greene (FR/Sacramento, CA) gave HIU the lead for the rest of the way. The Royals would go on to lead by as many as 16 before finishing out the game with a 57-43 victory at home.

Smith led the Royals with 14 points off the bench to go with his two blocks and six boards, while Trotter was just behind with 13 points, four boards, and a handful of assists in 30 minutes of play, his second-highest minute count of the season. Liam Hunt led HIU with 11 rebounds.

"Really, really proud of our guys tonight – that was one of the better efforts I've ever seen out of our team here tonight," Czech said to close his comments – HIU held the Lions to an icy 5.3% from deep (1-19) and under 30% from the field for the game. "Our crowd has been really good the last two games and we really appreciate that and notice the support they've been giving us."

HIU improves to 15-5 overall in the 2016-17 season and is a half-game out of the lead in conference play with a 5-2 record against GSAC teams this season – Vanguard falls to .500 in conference with a 3-3 GSAC record and is 14-6 overall.

The Royals play their last non-conference tilt on Monday in the Darling Pavilion against Shepherd (CA) while the Lions will play host to No. 7 Biola next Tuesday in Costa Mesa.

M - Basketball
Overall GSAC Streak
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