Star-Bulletin Sports


Monday, December 6, 1999


R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L




Rainbows roll
over Pacific

Predrag Savovic and
Nerijus Puida pace Hawaii's
rout of Pacific

By Pat Bigold
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

The Hawaii men's basketball team played its best back-to-back halves of the season and exploited the early loss of Pacific's starting point guard as they coasted to the championship of the Hawaii Invitational, 72-42, last night before a crowd of 3,563 at Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii now goes on the road for the first time and will play at USC (3-4) of the Pac-10 Wednesday.

The most positive statistic of the game for Hawaii -- and head coach Riley Wallace said it brought a cheer in the locker room when it was announced -- was in turnovers. Instead of their average of 20, the Rainbows committed nine.

Using a tough, relentless pressure defense, Hawaii caused 17 Pacific turnovers.

"If we play defense like we did tonight, we can win some big games," said small forward Nerijus Puida.

"It was a good win, a much-needed win, everybody's happy and it gives us a good chance as we go on the road," said Wallace.

It was the Rainbows' second straight tournament win. They didn't win a single tournament last season.

It was was also Hawaii's fifth win in six games this season, and best start since 1997-98, when the team finished 21-8.

The Tigers (Big West), who fell to 2-4, were led by Peter Heizer's 11 points and Ross Mills' 10.

The starting duo of Puida and shooting guard Predrag Savovic stole the show again, combining for 13 assists and 11 rebounds.

"They play well together," said Wallace, "and their teammates are working hard to get open for them."

For the tournament, they accounted for 24 assists and 23 rebounds.

"We try to be creative and unselfish," said Savovic. "But everybody hustled and everything worked, offensively and defensively."

Puida said he and Savovic have a strong rapport on the court, and part of that is due to their common European playing heritage.

"I like playing with Savo, because I understand what he's going to do, and he says he understands what I'm going to do," said Puida.

Savovic is from Montenegro and Puida from Lithuania. The two also combined for 38 points in the tournament.

Savovic, who suffered a strained arch last week and has been playing with several blisters on his feet, was named the tournament MVP. He had only one turnover during the 49 minutes he played in the two games.

Puida and Marquette Alexander were the other Rainbows named to the all-tournament team.

Alexander, coming off a 3-for-15 shooting performance against Prairie View A&M, went 7-for-12 last night to lead all scorers with 14 points.

"I wasn't concentrating enough that night," said Alexander. "I was just taking the team lightly, but I shouldn't be taking any team lightly. I paid the price."

Alexander said being able to beat a team that uses a strategy similar to that of the only team that has beaten Hawaii (Bowling Green) was important.

"This was a real good test for us," he said, "especially now that we're going to USC."

In previous wins, Hawaii has played sound for most or all of the first half but then played sloppily in the second half.

"I think this was our best performance since New Mexico last year," said Savovic. He referred to Hawaii's 72-68 upset of the Lobos at home on Feb. 6.

In the first half, Hawaii destroyed the Pacific zone defense with patient passing in their halfcourt offense and wise shot selection.

Johnny White, Alexander and Mike McIntyre led the Rainbows with six points apiece while Savovic and Puida combined for seven assists and seven rebounds as Hawaii took a 28-13 lead.

The Tigers lost their starting sophomore point guard, Nathan Davis, when the game was only 1:08 old.

He went down in pain, holding his knee, after a collision with White in Hawaii's backcourt.

"You can't lose your point guard and still be effective and very few people are two-deep at that position," said Wallace.

"I was a little afraid coming into this game because (Pacific head coach) Bob Thomason does such a good job with his guys and they run their offense to perfection. But when you play defense the way we did, it's hard for people to run their offense.

"We just played good, straight pressure man all the way. No zone. We have to establish that we can play fundamental defense."

Prairie View 81, Tennessee State 76: Greg Burks scored 25 points as the Panthers (2-2) took the consolation game. Kurtis Murray led TSU (0-3) with 20 points.

Hawaii Invitational

Tapa

HAWAII 72, PACIFIC 42

Tigers (2-4)

		fg	fga	ft	fta	min	reb	a	tp
Davis		0	0	0	0	1	0	0	0
McKnight	2	7	0	0	19	1	0	5
Marvel		0	5	0	0	28	2	0	0
Hahn		2	6	0	1	23	5	2	4
Preston		1	3	1	3	22	2	0	3
Harris		1	3	0	0	11	0	0	2
Walton		0	1	0	0	8	1	0	0
Pride		0	1	0	0	2	1	0	0
Cockle		0	5	0	0	16	0	1	0
Heizer		2	10	6	7	30	4	2	11
Abernethy	0	0	0	0	8	1	1	0
Masters		2	2	2	5	12	2	1	7
Mills		4	7	1	2	20	6	0	10
	Team						5		
	Totals	14	50	10	18	200	30	7	42

Rainbows (5-1)

		fg	fga	ft	fta	min	reb	a	tp
Savovic		2	6	0	0	22	5	6	6
White		3	7	4	4	18	1	0	10
Puida		2	4	0	0	27	6	7	4
Ostler		4	7	0	0	19	6	1	8
Alexander	7	12	0	0	32	6	0	14
McIntyre	4	7	0	0	21	0	5	12
McIntosh	1	7	0	0	21	4	2	2
Takaki		1	1	0	0	2	0	0	2
Hall		0	0	0	0	1	0	0	0
Robinson	4	7	0	0	16	1	1	8
O'Connor	0	2	0	0	12	3	1	0
Fields		3	4	0	0	8	0	1	6
Holliday	0	0	0	0	3	0	0	0
	Team						3		
	Totals	31	64	4	4	200	35	24	72
Key--fg: field goals; fga: field goals attempted; ft: free throws; fta: free throws attempted; min: minutes; reb: rebounds; a: assists; tp: total points.

Halftime-Hawaii 28, Pacific 13.

3-point goals--UOP 4-16 (Masters 1-1, Mills 1-2, McKnight 1-3, Heizer 1-5, Harris 0-1, Cockle 0-2, Marvel 0-2); UH 6-15 (McIntyre 4-5, Savovic 2-3, McIntosh 0-1, O'Connor 0-1, Puida 0-1, Robinson 0-2, White 0-2). Personal fouls--UOP 8, UH 17. Fouled out--None. Steals--UOP 3, UH 7 (Robinson 3, McIntosh 2). Blocked shots--UOP 2, UH 4. Turnovers--UOP 17, UH 9. Officials--Jeff Hodges, Brent Meaux, Donovan Lewis. A-6,325.

PRAIRIE VIEW 81, TENNESSEE ST. 76

Tennessee St.: Martin 4-9 0-1 8, Rolston 6-12 0-1 12, Strong 2-5 0-4 4, Samuel 3-8 2-4 11, Roberts 6-21 5-6 19, G.Jones 1-2 0-0 2, Murray 5-17 8-10 20. Totals: 27-74 15-26 76

Prairie View: Coulter 1-3 4-7 6, Lee 5-16 3-3 15, Thompson 3-5 4-8 10, Willybiro 2-5 0-0 4, Burks 8-14 5-5 25, K.Jones 6-16 4-6 20, Walton 0-2 1-2 1, Riley 0-0 0-2 0. Totals: 25-61 21-33 81

Halftime--Tennessee St. 43, Prairie View 37. 3-Point goals--Tennessee St. 7-31 (Samuel 3-6, Murray 2-9, Roberts 2-12, Strong 0-1, G.Jones 0-1, Rolston 0-2), Prairie View 10-30 (Burks 4-8, K.Jones 4-12, Lee 2-8, Willybiro 0-2). Fouled out--Martin, Samuel, G.Jones. Rebounds--Tennessee St. 51 (Rolston 13), Prairie View 43 (Lee, Walton 8). Assists--Tennessee St. 11 (Strong 5), Prairie View 14 (Burks 7). Total fouls--Tennessee St. 27, Prairie View 20.



http://uhathletics.hawaii.edu
Ka Leo O Hawaii



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