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Star-Bulletin Sports


Sunday, December 30, 2001


[ UH BASKETBALL ]

art
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Predrag Savovic scored 19 points last night against Nevada, including his 1,000th point as a Rainbow.



Savovic lifts UH
to 2-0 in WAC

Rainbows will take an undefeated
WAC record on the road
with them tomorrow


By Cindy Luis
cluis@starbulletin.com

Take a picture of the standings. It's a keeper.

For the first time since 1994 -- and only the third time since joining the Western Athletic Conference in the 1979-80 season -- Hawaii is 2-0 to open conference play in men's basketball. And for the first time, the Rainbows are in sole possession of first place two games into the year.

UH Thanks to a 58-40 victory over Nevada last night at the Stan Sheriff Center, Hawaii (11-2, 2-0) has a half-game lead over Louisiana Tech and SMU, both of which play their second WAC games today.

In front of 5,935 (7,232 tickets), the Rainbows won their fifth straight and celebrated their best start since the 1999-2000 team also went 11-2. They also welcomed the newest member of the 1,000-point club: Senior guard Predrag Savovic scored 19, 12 in the first half, to become the first player since Alika Smith and Anthony Carter both reached the plateau in finishing their careers in 1997-98.

Savovic also moved up to eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,015 career points, passing Reggie Cross (1,013). His final points came on a layup with 8:30 to go; he also took an undetected forearm in the back by Sean Paul that left him briefly on the floor.

"We struggled offensively," said Nevada coach Trent Johnson, his team falling to 8-4, 1-1 in the WAC. "They (Hawaii) did a pretty good job defensively keeping us out of rhythm. We like to attack the basket off the dribble and we weren't able to be successful at that.

"They're good players. It's tough to play here. More than anything the one guy who makes them so much better is (Carl) English. The keys for my basketball team is we have to defend, rebound and take care of the ball. We defended, we rebounded (40-29 advantage) but we had 18 turnovers, a lot of them unforced. In the second half, it was a combination of their defense and our shooting."

Hawaii outscored Nevada 33-16 in the second half in part because "they were challenged at halftime," said Hawaii coach Riley Wallace. "We were ahead, but the talk was like we were behind. We game them too many second-chance points.

"It's not good to be outrebounded by 10. That tells me that the intensity is not there. But I'm not complaining. We're 11-2 and 2-0. Now we have to keep it going on the road."

The Rainbows leave tomorrow and will spend New Year's Day in Los Angeles. They then leave to play at Texas-El Paso on Thursday and Boise State on Saturday.

Holding on to a slim 25-24 halftime lead, the Rainbows outscored the Wolf Pack 7-0 in the first 4:30 of the second half to take the lead for good.

Junior guard Terrance Green, the nephew of former 16-year NBA veteran A.C. Green, was the only Nevada player to score in the first 12:24 of the second half. He had eight of his team-high 18 points to pull the Wolf Pack to 34-30.

Nevada did not score for almost four minutes while Hawaii went off for eight unanswered tallies. Getting two 3-pointers from Mindaugas Burneika and an electrifying steal and layup by Mike McIntyre, the Rainbows took their biggest lead of the second half to that point -- 42-30 with nine minutes remaining.

Burneika's second 3-pointer was the team's eighth, giving the crowd a free order of breadsticks from the Papa John's pizza chain. McIntyre hit a trey less than two minutes later for Hawaii's ninth, tying the season high set Thursday against Fresno State.

Junior forward Luc-Arthur Vebobe, who was heavily recruited by Nevada, hit his first career 3-pointer with 3:06 left to give Hawaii a 52-36 lead. The 10 team 3-pointers is three short of the school record

Savovic was the only Rainbow player in double figures, tying his career-high with five 3-pointers. Burneika and Phil Martin each had eight points. English had five, tying his season low. It was only the third time this season he did not score in double figures.

The Hawaii defense held Nevada's leading scorer, Garry Hill-Thomas, to barely half of his 19.7 average. The sophomore guard needed two consecutive baskets in the final two minutes to reach double figures.

Senior forward Corey Jackson, the WAC rebounding leader, reached his average of 10 boards but managed only 2 points. Freshman forward Kirk Snyder, who scored 15 in his debut against San Jose State on Thursday, was held to one first-half basket; point guard Andre Hazel, averaging 10.5 points a game, was scoreless.

The Rainbows held the Wolf Pack to .296 shooting from the floor, second lowest of the season. Georgia shot .293 in the Rainbow Classic championship.

"Defense was pretty good," said McIntyre. "They only scored 40 points. Coach (Wallace) said we're leading the league in that (58.2 points before last night). It was a defensive game.

"The key was energy. Our guys came together, said we want to stop their penetration. It's pride, it's a conference game. We wanted to go on the road 2-0. Everyone in the WAC knows you need to dominate at home and try to get splits on the road. It was a positive win for us."

It was a tight ballgame for the opening 20 minutes, with two ties and four lead changes. Nevada led by as many as seven at 15-8 with 12:04 left before intermission.

Hawaii used an 8-1 run to tie it at 16, with Savovic reaching the 1,000-point mark -- actually 1,002 -- with his second 3-pointer at the 8:30 mark.

Hawaii 58, Nevada 40

WOLF PACK (8-4, 1-1)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Hazel 0 6 0 0 23 4 1 0

Green 6 13 5 7 33 5 3 18

Hill-Thomas 4 15 2 2 30 5 1 10

Jackson 1 3 0 0 25 10 0 2

Paul 3 4 0 2 28 7 1 6

Snyder 1 7 0 0 15 2 0 2

Wilson 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

Petty 0 3 0 0 20 2 0 0

Pinkney 1 2 0 0 11 2 0 2

Ochs 0 0 0 1 13 2 0 0

Eversteyn 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0

Team 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0

Totals 16 54 7 12 200 41 6 40

RAINBOWS (11-2, 2-0)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Savovic 6 14 2 2 31 2 2 19

Martin 4 8 0 0 30 6 2 8

Shimonovich 1 7 1 2 21 4 1 3

Campbell 1 2 0 0 31 2 3 2

English 2 5 0 0 29 5 1 5

McIntyre 2 5 0 1 26 2 3 5

Takaki 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0

Burneika 3 7 0 0 19 3 1 8

Holliday 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

Jesinskis 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 2

Vebobe 1 1 3 4 10 1 1 6

Team 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0

Totals 21 50 6 9 200 31 14 58

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-Nevada 24, Hawaii 25.

3-point goals--Nevada 1-8 (Green); Hawaii 10-21(Savovic 5, Burneika 2, English, McIntyre, Vebobe). Personal fouls--Nevada 15, Hawaii 13. Technical fouls--none. Steals--Nevada 9 (Paul 2, Petty 2, Green 2, Hazel, Snyder, Ochs); Hawaii 10 (Campbell 4, McIntyre 3, Savovic, Shimonovich, Burneika). Blocked shots--Nevada 1 (Paul); Hawaii 7 (Savovic 2, Martin 2, Burneika 2, Campbell). Turnovers--Nevada 18 (Hazel 5, Jackson 4, Snyder 4, Petty 2, Hill-Thomas 2, Green); Hawaii 15 (McIntyre 5, Savovic 3, English 3, Shimonovich 2, Martin, Burneika). Officials--Hunt, Carey, Wells.



UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii



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