Sunday, December 23, 2001
[ UH BASKETBALL ]
UH beats GeorgiaAs big as Kansas? No.
for Classic title
The Rainbows win the event for
the third time in the past 5 years
By Cindy Luis
But it was big. Very big.
There's something about odd years that brings out the best in the Hawaii basketball team. The Rainbows, holding Georgia to one free throw in the first 10 minutes of the second half, won their third Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic title in five years with a 54-44 victory.
A season-high crowd of 5,238 (7,019) at the Stan Sheriff Center saw the Rainbows win a wild one to improve to 9-2, overcoming some of the worst officiating in recent memory. Hawaii also won Classic titles in 1997, defeating No. 2 Kansas, and 1999, topping Oregon.
In earlier games yesterday, Iona rallied past Miami (Ohio) 57-51 for third place; No. 10 Boston College took the consolation title with a 67-57 win over Holy Cross; and Arkansas State topped Portland 77-74 for seventh.
"We knew if we kept the pressure on, we'd wear them down," said Hawaii coach Riley Wallace. "They've been on the road for over a week, got a big win at Pepperdine (last Monday). They've got to feel good about winning three of four on the road like this.
"But I'm really happy with the team and the effort, particularly on defense. We spent a lot of time on that in fall practice. This is a special team and they won it in a different way than the team that beat Kansas. They play below the rim."
Sophomore Phil Martin scored 10 of Hawaii's first 14 points of the second half as the Rainbows turned a 28-24 halftime deficit into a 38-31 lead. A tenacious Hawaii defense bothered the Georgia shooters. The Bulldogs (11-2) missed their first 14 shots of the second half and didn't hit a bucket until Jonas Hayes' putback with 9:55 left pulled his team to 38-31.
MVP: Haim Shimonovich, Hawaii
>> Alex Shorts, Miami (Ohio)
>> Jason Jennings, Arkansas State
>> Troy Bell, Boston College
>> Predrag Savovic, Hawaii
>> Ezra Williams, Georgia
The teams traded baskets and blows, the rest of the way. The one call that galvanized both the crowd and the Rainbows came with 7:42 left and Hawaii holding on to a 38-33 lead.
Carl English was called for a charge on a shot that Georgia's Jarvis Hayes pinned against the backboard. The Rainbows made the stop at the other end and Predrag Savovic hit a jumper to put the team up by seven at 40-33.
The Bulldogs didn't back down, hitting two 3-pointers during an 8-3 run, that closed the gap to 43-41. The Rainbows responded with a 3-pointer by Savovic and a putback by tournament MVP Haim Shimonovich.
Ezra Williams hit his fourth 3-pointer to pull Georgia to 48-44 with 56 seconds to go. The Bulldogs had no answer while Hawaii hit four consecutive free throws to close out the scoring.
"They just beat us every way, shape and form," said Georgia coach Jim Harrick. "Give them all the credit. They played brilliantly.
"They beat us, beat us like a drum, in every phase of the game."
In a hard-fought first half, Georgia got the better of Hawaii, and the better undetected punches in, to edge out to a 28-24 halftime lead. The lowlight of the first 20 minutes was the aggressive elbow thrown by Jonas Hayes that decked Savovic, resulting in a technical.
Savovic's free throw tied it at 24-24 with 3:03 left before intermission. The Rainbows did not score again, while Chris Daniels poured in the Bulldogs' last four points.
Savovic finished with a game-high 19 points, 11 coming in the second half. Martin added 13 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.
Shimonovich finished with six points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
For the Bulldogs, Williams scored 12 points and Daniels knocked in 10.
Hawaii will face another Bulldog team when opening conference play next Thursday against Fresno State.
"What this does for us is make us believe," said Shimonovich. "We believe we can beat good teams if we play hard. We know we have room to improve so that gives me hope that we will be even better."
"We just wanted it more," said junior guard Mark Campbell. "It came down to which team wanted it and we wanted it more."
Iona 57, Miami (Ohio) 51: It was city street ball vs. main street ball, with the Gaels (4-7) overpowering the RedHawks (3-7) for third place.
Courtney Fields scored 16 points, 13 in the second half, and Iona outscored Miami 6-0 in the final 76 seconds to pull out the victory.
"We played three very good teams this week and we beat a great basketball team tonight," said Iona coach Jeff Ruland. "They're beginning to play like the coaching staff wants them to play.
"We have a few days off, then are in the FootLocker (Holiday Festival in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 27-28 ), opening with Seton Hall and are back at it again."
Ruland is hoping to have former Kalaheo standout Julian Sensley on the Gaels' roster by next month. Sensley, who finished his high school career at St. Thomas More Academy in Connecticut, has been accepted at Iona and is enrolled for the second semester.
"He's a great young man and we're hoping to have him play," said Ruland. "We're appealing his case to the NCAA as a 'special needs' case and hope to have him in January."
Sensley originally committed to California, but didn't score high enough on the SAT. He took the SAT again three weeks ago, but came up short of the qualifying score.
If the appeal is denied, Sensley would become eligible to play next December. However, Sensley may forgo college all together for the NBA. He's been projected as a possible first-round draft pick by some publications.
"He's my best friend," said Iona freshman guard Soloman Brown, a teammate at St. Thomas More. "We won two titles together and I'm looking forward to playing with him. I hope it works out."
No. 10 Boston College 67, Holy Cross 57: It was closer than when the two teams met last Sunday, but the result was the same: a win for the 10th-ranked Eagles.
BC, which beat the visiting Crusaders 75-51 six days ago, got 15 points from Uka Agbai in leading for all but the opening two minutes.
Troy Bell and Jermaine Watson each added 11 for the Eagles, who have won two in a row after their nine-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday against Miami (Ohio).
"They weren't different," Eagles coach Al Skinner said. "But, I think we were. We missed free throws. We missed some layup opportunities.
"If we make our free throws and some of our other opportunities, we could have had the same type of result. But I don't think they played any different than the first time we played them. I just don't think we played as well," he said.
Arkansas State 77, Portland 74: The Indians (8-5) held off a late charge from the Pilots (4-7) to claim seventh place and avoid a third consecutive tournament loss.
The game was close the entire way, with ASU taking a 40-32 lead into the locker room at halftime. Portland rallied to go ahead for the first time in the second half at 52-50 on a 3-pointer by Ross Jorgusen. Jorgusen and Casey Frandsen combined for five free throws to give the Pilots their biggest lead at 57-54 with 11:03 remaining.
The Indians came back to tie it at 57-57 and the game was tied three more times, the last at 69-69 with 3:45 left.
Two consecutive jumpers by Odie Williams gave ASU a four-point cushion only to have Frandsen's seventh 3-pointer of the game cut it to one at 73-72.
The remaining 104 seconds were spent at the free-throw line, where the Indians won the game, hitting 4 of 6 to the Pilots 2 of 3.
Hawaii 54, Georgia 44BULLDOGS (11-2)
fg fga ft fta min reb a tp Wright 1 4 0 0 27 1 3 2 Williams 4 13 0 3 31 8 0 12 Hayes, Ja 3 12 0 1 28 4 1 6 Daniels 3 6 4 6 37 9 1 10 Thomas 0 7 1 2 18 4 0 1 Cole 2 6 0 0 20 2 4 5 Pevey 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 Patrick 0 2 0 0 16 2 0 0 Hayes, Jo 4 8 0 0 20 5 0 8 Team 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 Totals 17 58 5 12 200 39 9 44
fg fga ft fta min reb a tp Savovic 7 16 3 4 32 1 0 19 Martin 6 11 1 4 35 13 2 13 Shimonovich 3 5 0 1 22 12 3 6 Campbell 0 2 2 2 34 3 6 2 English 2 8 0 0 36 7 4 0 McIntyre 0 3 0 0 19 0 0 6 Burneika 3 12 1 2 22 4 0 0 Team 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 8 Totals 21 57 7 13 200 43 15 54
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 24, Georgia 28
3-point goals--Georgia 5-18 (Williams 4, Cole), Hawaii 5-19 (Savovic 2, English 2, Burneika). Personal fouls--Georgia 17, Hawaii 14. Steals--Georgia 4 (Wright 2, Ja Hayes, Cole), Hawaii 5 (Campbell, Martin, Shimonovich, Burneika). Blocked shots--Georgia 0, Hawaii 3 (Shimonovich 2, Martin). Turnovers--Georgia 17 (Williams 5, Ja Hayes 4, Wright 2, Daniels 2, Cole 2, Thomas, Jo Hayes), Hawaii 14 (English 7, Martin 2, Campbell 2, Savovic, Shimonovich, McIntyre). A--7,019.
Ka Leo O Hawaii