Monday, November 22, 1999
slows the Bows
The Falcons' deliberate offenseNo TV for Rainbows
and tenacious defense earn them
a 53-49 win and the championship
By Pat Bigold
Marquette Alexander came within a rebound of a double-double game and won the Outstanding Player trophy of the Pepsi One/Nextel Challenge last night before 4,071 fans at the Stan Sheriff Center.
But the 6-foot-8 senior didn't allow himself to enjoy the honor. Not even a hint of a smile crossed his face when he met reporters after the game.
Bowling Green (2-0) had just handed Hawaii (1-1) its first defeat, 53-49, in a hard-nosed, evenly fought battle that came down to the final 17 seconds.
The Rainbows play next against William & Mary in the United Airlines Tipoff Tournament Friday.
The Falcons, who were 18-8 last year, brought to a screeching halt the running game Hawaii had used to score between 80 and 90 points through two exhibition games and the collegiate season opener over the past two weeks.
Using a relentless man-to-man approach and refusing to be pressured into bad shots in their halfcourt offense, they forced the Rainbows to play their game.
"We think we handle pressure in practice but this team (Bowling Green) is like some of the WAC teams we're going to face," warned Alexander, who had 18 points (all around the paint or the baseline) and nine rebounds. He never got a trip to the line.
"We just have to fight fire with fire."
In Hawaii's 84-68 rout of Tennessee-Martin Friday night, Alexander had 17 points to lead four Rainbows in double figures. But last night, he was the only one with more than seven points.
Sophomore guard Predrag Savovic, normally an offensive jump-starter, shot 1 for 7 (including an attempt to tie the game on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds). He had only five points.
"Maybe it's good we experience this pressure early and learn to deal with it," he said.
Bowling Green head coach Dan Dakich, a former assistant to Bobby Knight at Indiana, praised the defensive job Savovic did on Anthony Stacey.
Stacey, considered one of the best players in the Mid-American Conference, was held to eight points -- 10 below his average last season.
"We play a man-to-man defense," Dakich said. "I learned from Coach Knight in the 16 years I worked there. The idea is that if you're going to beat us, you have to beat us over the top. When people drive or get in the post, we have help there."
He said he did everything he could on offense to keep Hawaii from starting its break.
"Watching Friday's game, I thought if we take bad shots, they're going to get out and go like they did against Tennessee-Martin," said Dakich. "So we decided to make an effort to hang on to the ball. We were going to cut, move and make them guard us for 30 or 35 seconds, whatever it took to get a good shot."
Alexander paced Hawaii to a 25-23 first-half advantage as he scored 10 points, had eight rebounds and an assist.
Hawaii had a 49-46 lead on a six-foot turnaround jumper by Alexander with 4:17 left.
But from that juncture, it was all Bowling Green.
Hawaii got the ball down the floor to Alexander with a minute left. But he was immediately bottled up in the low post and put up a bad shot. Bernard McIntosh rebounded for Hawaii but had it stolen away at the side of the lane by Dubrey Black with under 30 seconds left.
The Falcons then chose to use an experimental NCAA rule which allowed them to take the possession rather than the free throws every time they were fouled in the closing moments.
Johnny White, Nerijus Puida and McIntosh (twice) each fouled Bowling Green to no avail.
But Savovic and White applied enough pressure to McLeod in front of the Bowling Green bench to cause him to lose the ball out of bounds with 17.1 seconds left.
Hawaii coach Riley Wallace set up a play in which Lane O'Connor, a 51 percent 3-point shooter in junior college, was supposed to take the shot. The Falcons refused to let him have a look, so he passed to Savovic. The Serbian sophomore launched a shot from the top of the arc that bounced off the rim with 3.8 seconds left.
White fouled Keith McLeod (11 points -- the only Falcon in double figures), who made one of two with three seconds left to ice it.
Dakich said he doesn't like the new rule.
"It's a bad rule, as far as I'm concerned because all it's going to do is force people to keep fouling until something happens," he said.
"But I used it and it almost cost us big time."
He said he set up his defense against Hawaii's last maneuver for a trey to "switch everything except Marquette Alexander."
"But we didn't do a very good job because Savovic raced out and got a hell of a look," said Dakich. "Lucky that it bounced off the left of the rim."
Wallace said O'Connor didn't run the pick correctly.
"We haven't had that situation for him to have the ball," said Wallace. "I probably should have found somebody who could penetrate and kick it to him.
"But we actually got the shot, and Savo got maybe a better look than Lane would've got."
Jackson State 63, Tennesse-Martin 48: Marino Walker scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures as JSU (1-1) took a 36-23 halftime lead and never looked back in the third-place game.
Okechi Egbe, who scored no points in Friday's loss to Hawaii, led Tennessee-Martin (0-2) with 16.
Bowling Green 53, Hawaii 49
fg fga ft fta reb a tp Jackson 2 6 0 0 3 1 4 McLeod 3 7 3 4 0 1 11 Esterkamp 3 9 2 2 6 3 8 Stacey 2 7 4 6 3 4 8 Klassen 3 3 0 1 1 0 6 Bunn 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 Matela 4 9 1 1 9 1 9 Black 3 8 1 2 3 0 7 Team 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 Totals 20 49 11 16 32 10 53Rainbows (1-1)
fg fga ft fta reb a tp Savovic 1 7 2 2 1 1 5 White 3 6 0 1 1 2 6 Puida 3 5 0 1 3 4 6 Ostler 1 1 1 2 3 1 3 Alexander 9 15 0 0 9 1 18 McIntyre 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 McIntosh 2 6 0 0 7 1 4 Robinson 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 OConnor 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 Team 3 7 0 1 1 1 7 Totals 37 68 16 28 47 24 92Key--fg: field goals; fga: field goals attempted; ft: free throws; fta: free throws attempted; reb: rebounds; a: assists; tp: total points.
Halftime-Hawaii 25, Bowling Green 23
3-point goals--BG: 2-10 (McLeod 2-4, Stacey 0-1, Black 0-2, Esterkamp 0-3), UH 2-13 (Savovic 1-4, O'Connor 1-5, Puida 0-2, Robinson 0-2). Personal fouls--BG 16, UH 22. Fouled out--White. Steals--BG 7 (Stacey 4), UH 3. Blocked shots--BG 0, UH 4 (McIntosh 2). Turnovers--BG 15, UH 16. Officials--Tom Yoshida, Gaspar Guercio, Vince Schlueter. A-6,516
Jackson St. 63, Tenn.-Martin 48
Jackson State: Marks 6-16 1-3 15, Burns 4-7 2-4 10, Robinson 1-1 1-2 3, Bradley 5-8 3-5 13, Walker 5-10 5-7 16, Myers 0-2 2-2 2, Dixon 1-5 0-0 2, Fletcher 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-2 0-0 0, Nichols 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 23-54 14-23 63.
Tennessee-Martin: Betts 4-8 0-0 8, Sensabaugh 1-2 0-0 2, Williamson 0-3 0-0 0, Prescott 3-9 0-0, Webb 1-5 0-0 2, Benton 3-13 1-3 7, Roos 1-4 0-2, Jordan 1-3 1-2 4, Bledsoe 0-4 1-2 1, Egbe 6-8 2-5 16, Totals 20-59 5-14 48.
Halftime-Jackson State 36, Tennessee-Martin 23.
Rebounds-JS 40 (Robinson 9, Bradley 9); T-M 39 (Webb 8). Assists-JS 11 (Robinson 3, Walker 3); T-M 9 (Sensabaugh 2, Roos 2, Egbe 2). Total fouls-JS 11, T-M 23. Technicals-Betts, Andrae.
No TV for RainbowsBy Pat Bigold
The Hawaii men's basketball program is the only Western Athletic Conference program not scheduled for a Fox regional telecast this coming season.
With no national or regional coverage for the Rainbow Classic (Dec. 27-30) either, it now appears that the Rainbow men will get only local TV exposure for 1999-2000.
"It's going to kill us in recruiting," said an unhappy Wallace.
Wallace, who is in his 13th year as head coach, said he has not been shut out of both national and regional TV coverage since back in the 1980s.
"There was a Hawaii game in the original schedule," said WAC commissioner Karl Benson last night at the Pepsi One/Nextel Challenge. "It was the game at Fresno State on March 4. But Fox wanted to move the game to Sunday and the Fresno State arena wasn't available. So our intention was not to slight Hawaii, or to eliminate Hawaii from TV exposure."
Fox, which replaced ESPN as the Western Athletic Conference sports network, will carry nine regional WAC men's basketball games this season.
Rice, SMU and TCU will each get four Fox regional appearances while four of the other five WAC members will get at least one appearance.
"I just hope this team performs well and really gets good so they'll (Fox) be the ones to lose out by not getting to see us play," said Wallace.
Fox announced that the Wahine basketball team will get two regional appearances (Jan. 13 at SMU and Feb. 27 at Rice).
Benson said he is still trying to get a Fox regional date for Hawaii.
"It all goes through Dallas now," said Wallace.
Fresno State, picked to win the WAC, will get one of three national Fox exposures in a game against TCU. Rice and SMU will have another. The WAC championship game will be the third national telecast.
Fresno State will also have a regional appearance.
Earlier, the Rainbow Classic lost ESPN, which had done the previous three tournaments. Then negotiations with Fox to pick it up fell through.