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Friday, January 3, 2003


[ UH BASKETBALL ]



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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Hawaii's Milos Zivanovic tried to take the ball away from Texas-El Paso's Justino Victoriano after Victoriano grabbed a rebound yesterday in Hawaii's 64-52 win in Texas. No foul was called.




Hawaii wakes up
to beat UTEP

The Rainbows were sluggish
but good enough for a WAC win


From staff and wire reports

EL PASO, Texas >> New year. Different arena.

Same result.

Hawaii successfully opened its Western Athletic Conference title defense in basketball last night with a sluggish 64-52 victory against undermanned Texas-El Paso. But a win's a win, especially considering that the Rainbows (8-1, 1-0) were 4-18 in the Don Haskins Center against the Miners (2-8, 0-1) prior to last night's contest.

Hawaii left this morning for Idaho, where the Rainbows will put their six-game win streak on the line against Boise State tomorrow (10 a.m. Hawaii time). The Broncos (7-4, 1-0) rallied past San Jose State last night 58-56 at the BSU Pavilion.

"I thought that coming off a great win, we'd be fired up," said Rainbow junior guard Michael Kuebler, referring to Monday's overtime win over Butler for the Rainbow Classic title. "That was not the case tonight.

"We came out flat. It's not that we were tired, but anytime you don't play with emotion, it makes you seem tired. Hopefully we'll be able to play with more emotion Saturday. We just weren't able to hit our shots tonight."

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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Hawaii's Carl English, right, grabbed a rebound on his way to scoring a game-high 17 points against Texas-El Paso yesterday.




Hawaii, leading the WAC in field-goal percentage at 49 percent, hit a dismal 33 percent against UTEP (18 of 55). What again saved the Rainbows was their performance from the line, where they sank 23 of 29 free throws, including 16 of 20 in the final five minutes to pull away.

It was the 10th consecutive regular-season WAC loss for the Miners, who got a career-high 26 points from freshman guard Giovanni St. Amant. Senior center Justino Victoriano added 10 points and 10 rebounds for UTEP, which lost the battle of the boards 46-27.

Junior guard Carl English led the Rainbows in scoring for the fifth time this season, finishing with 17. Kuebler added 16 points, hitting three 3-pointers.

English, the WAC leader in treys, made just one of six attempts, but it was a big one. English beat the first-half buzzer to give Hawaii a 26-23 lead at intermission.

The Rainbows appeared to be in control early, jumping out to an 18-10 advantage. The Miners used a 12-0 run to take the lead at 22-18 with less than four minutes to go in the half.

Kuebler's second 3-pointer ended the UH drought to close to 22-21. UTEP managed just one point in the final 2:30 on Chris Craig's free throw and UH tied it at 23 on Nkeruwem Akpan's basket.

The Miners tied the score in the opening minute of the second half. But Hawaii put together a 20-10 run with six different players scoring, capped by Mark Campbell's 3-pointer, to regain control at 46-36 with seven minutes left.

Akpan had UH's lone field goal of the last seven minutes. He finished with nine points and a career-high 12 rebounds off the bench.

"For me, it was very exciting to play here for the first time," said Akpan, who sat out last year's WAC opener here due to an NCAA-mandated suspension. "I wanted to play well and help the team, especially with defense.

"We needed to set aside this game from the Rainbow Classic. This is the WAC and it is different now."

And Wallace let his team know it.

"I'm not complaining about the win, but about the effort," Wallace said. "Yes, we had the shortest turnaround we've ever had, and the players were probably tired. But that's no excuse to not have the mental energy.

"We have to come out and play together, not have guys pointing fingers. We should have won by a lot more."

Hawaii 64, UTEP 52

RAINBOWS (8-1, 1-0)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Martin 3 5 2 3 17 3 0 8

Kuebler 4 12 5 6 39 6 2 16

Shimonovich 3 9 0 0 30 9 0 6

Campbell 1 6 2 2 34 2 4 5

English 4 13 8 10 39 3 3 17

Takaki 0 0 0 0 0+ 1 0 0

Zivanovic 0 0 0 0 7 1 0 0

Carter 0 0 1 2 7 0 0 1

Peciukas 0 0 2 2 1 0 0 2

Akpan 3 10 3 4 26 12 0 9

Team 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0

Totals 18 55 23 29 200 46 9 64

UTEP (2-8, 0-1)


fg fga ft fta min reb a tp

Tofi 3 10 1 1 25 5 0 7

Victoriano 5 8 0 3 37 10 1 10

St. Amant 9 14 8 10 37 5 3 26

Craig 1 5 1 2 39 1 3 4

Duran 0 3 1 2 27 0 3 1

Devance 0 1 0 1 16 1 1 0

Mattear 1 1 0 0 16 0 0 2

Anthis 1 2 0 0 9 1 0 2

Team 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0

Totals 20 44 11 19 200 27 11 52

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 26, UTEP 23.
3-point goals - Hawaii 5-18 (Kuebler 3-8, English 1-6, Campbell 1-4), UTEP 1-6 (Craig 1-3, Duran 0-2, Anthis 0-1). Personal fouls - Hawaii 19, UTEP 23. Technical fouls - None. Steals - Hawaii 7 (English 2, Kuebler, Shimonovich, Campbell, Carter, Akpan); UTEP 7 (Victoriano 2, Tofi, St. Amant, Craig, Duran, Mattear). Blocked shots - Hawaii 5 (Shimonovich 3, Kuebler, Martin); UTEP 6 (Victoriano 3, Tofi, St. Amant, Mattear). Turnovers - Hawaii 14 (Shimonovich 4, Campbell 4, English 2, Akpan 2, Martin, Zivanovic); UTEP 13 (St. Amant 4, Craig 4, Tofi 3, Victoriano, Anthis). Officials - Reischling, Gracey, Shaw. A - 5,199.



UH Athletics



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