Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, January 4, 2002


Hawaii center Haim Shimonovich, left, blocks a shot by Texas-El Paso center Brian Stewart in UH's 70-68 win.

’Bows find right
step in beating
host UTEP

Hawaii tries for 2 straight road
wins at Boise State tomorrow night

From staff and wire reports

EL PASO, Texas >> It was a fairly unfamiliar situation in the locker room at halftime for the Hawaii men's basketball team. For the just the third time all season, the Rainbows trailed after the first 20 minutes.

UH Hawaii coach Riley Wallace had three words: "Run the offense." For the third time this year, the Rainbows listened.

Predrag Savovic and Carl English combined for nine unanswered points midway through the second half to help their team to a 70-68 win. It was the first victory here since 1994 at what is now the Don Haskins Center.

"It was pretty tough," said Savovic, finishing with 29 points, two off of his career high.

"At halftime, Coach (Wallace) told us just to be patient."

Hawaii, winning its sixth straight, improved to 12-2 overall and is alone atop the Western Athletic Conference standings at 3-0. It ties Hawaii's best overall start under Riley Wallace, matching the start by the 1989-90 team, and it is the best conference start since the 1993-94 squad opened 4-0.

The Rainbows have a chance to tie the 4-0 mark tomorrow at WAC newcomer Boise State (4:30 p.m., Hawaii time). The Broncos (7-6, 1-2) defeated San Jose State 61-52 last night.

"There was no question about the focus tonight," said Wallace. "We hope to keep them going. We have a long trip ahead of us, but we're going to a place where we're 0-0 and we hope to come out 1-0.

"Tonight was a close game, but one point, 10 points, I don't care as long as we win."

It wasn't easy.

The Miners (5-9, 0-3) are tough at home. It's only the second loss in six home games for UTEP, and it's the first time the Miners have opened the WAC 0-3 since the 1977-78 season. UTEP, falling to 5-9 and 0-3, is 20-4 in the last three years at the Haskins Center.

Down 30-26 at halftime, Hawaii came out of the locker room inspired, outscoring UTEP 20-8 in the opening five minutes of the second half. Savovic had three of his five 3-pointers during the run that gave the Rainbows a 46-38 lead.

The Miners didn't fold as they did Sunday at SMU, where they were outscored 12-2 early in the second half in losing. Last night, UTEP fought back in front of 6,582 fans, tying it at 46 with 12:25 remaining.

Savovic and English combined to score the team's next nine points over the next three minutes to give Hawaii its biggest lead of the half to that point, 55-46. The Rainbows expanded it to 60-49 on a 3-pointer by Mike McIntyre, but Eugene Costello, who destroyed Hawaii in last year's game in El Paso, scored five of his team-high 17 points to pull his team to within 65-58 with four minutes to go.

Hawaii did not score a field goal in the final four minutes, using 5-of-8 free-throw shooting to ice the game. UTEP closed to 66-62 on a 3-pointer by Costello with 1:45 to go, but a controversial charge by Costello as he ran over English negated a basket that would have cut the lead to 66-64 with 92 seconds left.

"That was a big call, no question," said Wallace. "But we had seen that officiating crew at home and we were comfortable with how they called the game.

"There were some peaks and valleys and (UTEP) made tough shots. Our defense was good enough to win and we were 18 of 24 from the line, made the free throws when we had to."

Hawaii was shooting 64 percent from the line coming into the game. Last night, the Rainbows hit 75 percent, including 4-for-4 in the final 35 seconds to clinch the victory.

Savovic hit both of his free throws with 10.4 seconds remaining to put Hawaii up 70-66. Roy Smallwood, UTEP's leading scorer at 12.8 per game, hit a jumper at the buzzer for the final points.

Smallwood finished with 15, including nine in the second half. Freshman guard Luke Martin added 12.

For Hawaii, Savovic scored a season-high 29 points. His career-high 31 came last year in Honolulu against UTEP. English added 15, including 4-for-4 on free throws; he came in shooting under 60 percent from the line.

"That's all concentration," said Wallace. "And with Carl going 4-for-4, that will increase his confidence.

"I thought Mike McIntyre played a good game defensively and Haim had a good game (10 rebounds, two blocks).

"They flat-out whipped us in the first half, and we knew we had to had to back up the talk by getting the offense going in the second half."

The Miners gave the Rainbows little inside to start the game. Hawaii's first two baskets were 3-pointers from Savovic, and the Rainbows added two more 3-pointers in taking an 18-13 lead midway through the second half.

Hawaii went cold while UTEP got hot. The Rainbows gave up 12 unanswered points as the Miners jumped out to a 25-18 lead.

Phil Martin's second basket of the half broke the drought and two free throws by Martin cut the lead to 27-24. But the Rainbows could get no closer as they missed six consecutive 3-point attempts in trailing 30-26 at intermission.

Martin had eight of his 13 points by halftime, while Savovic, after hitting two 3-pointers in the opening two minutes, went scoreless the rest of the first half.

UTEP outrebounded Hawaii 20-11 in the first half. The Rainbows closed it to 33-27 for the game but "they still kicked our rears 14-4 on the offensive boards," said Wallace. "It's on to Boise."

"It was great to get that first road win," said English. "We just have to take the same attitude, the same confidence into Boise.

"It's always tough to win on the road, and I credit them for how hard they play. We just have to keep it going."

Other WAC Games

Fresno St. 87, Rice 61: At Fresno, Calif., Melvin Ely scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Bulldogs to a rout of the Owls.

Fresno St. (10-5, 2-1) broke the game open midway through the first half, scoring 18 straight points for a 40-20 lead with 4 minutes left in the half.

Omar Seli-Mance and Jason McKrieth each scored 13 to lead Rice (5-6, 0-1).

Boise St. 61, San Jose St. 52: At Boise, Idaho, Booker Nabors scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Broncos to their first Western Athletic Conference victory.

The Broncos (7-6, 1-2) forced the Spartans (5-10, 0-3) into 15 turnovers and converted most of the giveaways.

Nabors hit 9 of 18 including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. He missed his first three shots but had 15 points in the first half.

Tulsa 76, Nevada 66: At Reno, Nev., Antonio Reed and Dante Swanson scored 15 points each to lead Tulsa to victory over Nevada.

Tulsa (10-2, 1-0) pulled away from the Wolf Pack (8-5, 1-2) in the final three minutes. Corey Jackson scored 23 points to lead the Wolf Pack.

Top 25

No. 8 Maryland 92, Norfolk St. 69: At College Park, Md., Juan Dixon scored 17 points and Tahj Holden added a season-high 16 as Maryland extended its home winning streak over nonconference opponents to 84 games with a victory over Norfolk State.

Ryan Randle had a career-high 12 points for the Terrapins (11-2).

Maryland won its ninth straight home game despite the absence of center Lonny Baxter, who sat out with a sprained right ankle.

Darryl Towe led Norfolk State (3-10) with 14 points. Michael Boyd hauled down a season-high 18 rebounds.

Hawaii 70, UTEP 68

RAINBOWS (12-2, 3-0)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Martin 3 4 7 10 32 5 0 13

English 5 11 4 4 35 2 3 15

Shimonovich 3 4 1 2 33 10 4 7

Savovic 9 16 6 8 37 3 2 29

Campbell 0 1 0 0 27 3 2 0

McIntyre 1 4 0 0 21 2 1 3

Burneika 1 4 0 0 15 2 1 3

Team 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0

Totals 22 44 18 24 200 29 13 70

MINERS (5-9, 0-3)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Smallwood 6 16 2 2 32 8 2 15

Jarrell 1 4 2 2 22 4 0 5

Victoriano 3 8 3 5 19 8 0 9

Martin 3 8 5 5 33 3 5 12

Costello 6 10 2 3 38 4 3 17

Neal 2 4 0 0 16 0 0 6

Luces 0 0 0 0 10 0 1 0

Enzweiler 1 5 0 0 15 3 0 2

Stewart 1 4 0 0 15 3 0 2

Team 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0

Totals 23 59 14 17 200 35 11 68

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--UTEP 30, Hawaii 26.

3-point goals--UTEP 8-18 (Costello 3-5, Neal 2-3, Smallwood 1-2, Jarrell 1-2, Martin 1-3, Enzweiler 0-3); Hawaii 8-21 (Savovic 5-9, Burneika 1- 2, English 1-5, McIntyre 1-4, Shimonovich 0-1). Personal fouls--UTEP 21, Hawaii 18. Technical fouls--none. Steals--UTEP 10 (Smallwood 3, Jarell 2, Martin 2, Victoriano, Costello, Enzweiler); Hawaii 6 (Martin 2, English, Shimonovich, Savovic, Campbell). Blocked shots--UTEP 3 (Smallwood 2, Stewart); Hawaii 6 (Shimonovich 2, Burneika 2, Martin, English). Turnovers--UTEP 17 (Stewart 3, Costello 3, Martin 3, Victoriano 2, Jarrell 2, Smallwood 2, Neal, Luces); Hawaii 17 (Shimonovich 8, Campbell 3, English 2, McIntyre 2, Martin, Savovic). A--6,582.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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