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Thursday, March 20, 2003


[ UH BASKETBALL ]



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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michael Kuebler scored a team-high 21 points last night as Hawaii beat Nevada-Las Vegas on the road in the NIT.




Rainbows roll

Hawaii routs UNLV and will now
travel to Minneapolis to play
Minnesota on Monday


By Jason Kaneshiro
jkaneshiro@starbulletin.com

LAS VEGAS >> Feeling more at home on the road these days, the Hawaii basketball team raced to a convincing 85-68 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament last night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Despite traveling from Tulsa to Honolulu to Las Vegas in a three-day span, the Rainbow Warriors bolted past the Runnin' Rebels to earn only their second win in Las Vegas in the program's history.

"They refused to be tired, and showed a lot of heart," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "When they showed up for practice (last Tuesday) they were dead and today they had a lot of energy."

The Rainbows (19-11), who entered the game 3-10 away from Honolulu, advanced to the NIT second round on Monday against Minnesota in Minneapolis at 3 p.m. (HST). The Gophers beat Saint Louis 62-52 yesterday.

The Rainbows are expected to stay on the road.

A crowd of 2,697 at the TMC, many wearing UH green, watched the Rainbows burn the nets in the first half to open up a controlling lead and hold the Runnin' Rebels off the rest of the way.

"We were ready to play," UH guard Carl English said. "We're developing into a great basketball team and the more games we play, the better we get every night. Everybody was playing with a lot of heart, a lot of energy, and we can't be beat when we play like that. We played like we were at home."

ESPN announcers said English, a junior, would leave school with a season of eligibility left to enter the NBA Draft. They said he'd been told he'd likely be drafted between No. 20 and No. 40. But he declined to comment on that subject after the game.

"We'll talk about it when the season's over," English said.

UH guard Michael Kuebler shook off a recent shooting slump to score 21 points, 19 coming in the first half. English finished with 20 points and six rebounds.

Center Nkeruwem Akpan contributed 12 points.

Kuebler worked with team counselor Michael D'Andrea before the game to clear his head and regain his shooting touch.

"I just had to get my head straight. I don't know where it's been the last couple games," Kuebler said.

"He just made me realize I'm a good shooter. I had to get that thought in my head on the court never to hesitate."

UNLV ended its season at 21-11. Marcus Banks led the Rebels with 22 points, while Dalron Johnson added 18.

The Rebels were still reeling from a one-point loss in the Mountain West Conference tournament championship game on Saturday, and showed the effects early in the game.

"I was afraid we would not be able to get Saturday away from us, and I was also afraid that Hawaii would come in here with real enthusiasm about playing the game and they did," UNLV coach Charlie Spoonhour said.

"They hit shots early and got us down and we just did not answer the bell as well as they did."

The Rainbows led 48-33 at halftime. Hawaii shot 70 percent from the field, hitting 21 of 30 attempts, including six of 10 beyond the 3-point line before the break.

Kuebler, who scored seven points in two WAC tournament games last week, made eight of nine field-goal attempts and went into the half with 19 points.

After falling behind 6-2, Hawaii went on a 12-2 run to take command. Kuebler knifed through the Rebels' defense for eight points in the UH run.

Kuebler then moved outside to spark an 18-4 run by hitting three 3-pointers. A layup and trey by Vaidotas Peciukas gave UH a 43-26 lead at the 2:56 mark.

"We haven't had the road games where we found the open man consistently and hit the shots," Kuebler said.

The Rainbows cooled off after halftime, missing their first seven shots from the field. UNLV took advantage by scoring the first 10 points of the second half to cut the UH lead to 48-43 at the 15:46 mark on a putback by James Peters.

But Hawaii pushed its advantage back to double digits on a 3-pointer by English. Another trey by English and two free-throws by Kuebler gave UH a 63-48 lead with 10:18 left.

An 11-2 run gave the Rainbows their biggest lead of the game at 69-50 and UNLV didn't challenge again.



Hawaii 85, UNLV 68

RAINBOWS (19-11)

FG FGA FT FTA MIN REB A TP
Martin 1 4 0 1 14 3 1 2
Kuebler 8 15 2 2 40 3 4 21
Akpan 4 5 3 5 29 4 0 12
Campbell 2 5 4 4 30 4 4 8
English 6 13 5 5 40 6 5 20
Carter 3 4 2 2 10 0 0 9
Shimonovich 2 2 2 5 17 4 3 6
Peciukas 3 4 0 0 20 3 1 7
Team





2
Totals 29 52 18 24 200 29 18 85

REBELS (21-11)

FG FGA FT FTA MIN REB A TP
Johnson 6 15 5 5 35 3 3 18
Peters 2 8 1 5 23 7 0 5
Edwards 4 7 0 2 27 8 2 8
Banks 9 15 3 5 38 7 1 22
Lewis 2 7 0 0 31 7 4 5
Hunter 0 1 0 1 8 2 2 0
Turner 3 5 0 0 13 0 0 7
Pearson 1 2 1 2 10 0 0 3
Bigby 0 1 0 0 8 2 1 0
Knoche 0 0 0 0 7 1 1 0
Team




3
Totals 27 61 10 20 200 40 14 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 -- Hawaii 48, UNLV 33.
3-point goals -- Hawaii 9-19 (English 3-6, Kuebler 3-7, Akpan 1-1, Carter 1-1, Peciukas 1-2, Campbell 0-2); UNLV 4-13 (Johnson 1-3, Banks 1-3, Lewis 1-5, Hunter 0-1, Turner 1-1).
Personal fouls -- Hawaii 21, UNLV 21.
Steals -- Hawaii 6 (Campbell 3, Kuebler, English, Shimonovich); UNLV 5 (Banks 3, Johnson, Edwards).
Blocked shots -- Hawaii 3 (Shimonovich 2, Akpan); UNLV 3 (Johnson 2, Edwards).
Turnovers -- Hawaii 11 (English 3, Martin 2, Kuebler 2, Campbell 2, Carter, Shimonovich); UNLV 17 (Banks 7, Peters 2, Edwards 2, Lewis 2, Johnson, Hunter, Turner, Pearson).
Officials -- Ron Berkholtz, Sam Banks, Frank Spencer.
A -- 2,697.




UH Athletics


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