[ RAINBOW BASKETBALL ]
loss of top 2 players
The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara rode into town for their basketball season opener without two of their hotshots. But Cecil Brown proved to be a capable replacement on offense, and Josh Davis did a nice job defensively off the bench. Combined with a strong effort by Casey Cook (16 points, 12 rebounds), it added up to a 57-51 victory over Hawaii.
The absence of starting guards Nick Jones (suspension) and Branduinn Fullove (ankle injury) made the Gauchos appear vulnerable, especially since Jones scored 12.5 points a game and Fullove poured in a team-high 14.6 while earning Big West Player of the Year honors last season.
But Brown scored 11 of his 13 points after halftime, and the 6-foot-5 Davis used his quickness to disallow UH's 6-foot-9 Julian Sensley from taking too much advantage of a serious size mismatch.
"Cecil got on a roll and Casey was pretty good," said UCSB coach Bob Williams, who didn't care that Davis scored no points on eight shots. "I was really pleased with the effort (Davis) gave us at the three-spot. He did a great job on Sensley."
Sensley scored 10 points and got seven rebounds, but Davis made him earn them with good positioning.
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Hawaii coach Riley Wallace shouted to his team during last night's loss to UC Santa Barbara at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Using the bench: Over the years, Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace hasn't been known as a guy to use his bench very much.
But last night he went there early and often, using 11 players in the first half.
Vaidotas Peciukas, Haim Shimonovich and Bobby Nash scored six points each off the bench.
Considering he didn't play in Monday's exhibition, it was a bit of a surprise to see true freshman Nash check into the game at 4:26 of the first half.
He contributed quickly, grabbing two rebounds. Nash missed a 3-point attempt, but made a second trey from the right wing at the 2:07 mark to give UH a 21-20 lead, starting a 7-0 run that gave the Rainbows a 25-20 halftime advantage.
Nash also hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left as UH tried to scramble back into the game.
Wallace wanted to try to run the shorthanded Gauchos off the court with waves of players in the first half.
"That was pretty much it," he said. "Plus I've still got to see what a lot of these guys can do."
Said Cook: "In the first half they really tried to run us up and down the floor. I think they slowed down and we were in a little bit better shape."
Not happy with starters: Wallace had some sharp words about two starters from whom he expects more.
"Phil Martin was passive again," Wallace said of his fourth-year starter at forward who scored 12 points with five rebounds.
"(Mike) Kuebler was a no-show," he said of his shooting guard, who went 2-for-9 from the field, including 1-for-6 from 3-point land.
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[ COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL ]
WAC teams vie
for 2004 volleyball
RENO, Nev. >> The Western Athletic Conference tournament is up for grabs. The 2004 host site, that is.
Bids to host the tournament are due Dec. 15, with Fresno State, Nevada and SMU having already expressed interest.
Fresno State recently opened the 16,116-seat Save Mart Center, setting a school record for volleyball attendance with 4,708 when Hawaii defeated the Bulldogs on Nov. 9.
Bulldogs coach Lindy Vivas, who has been at odds with the administration over use of the facility, said she'd support the school's bid if it was for the Save Mart Center, but not if was to be played in the 50-year-old North Gym.
Molten, which is a sponsor of the WAC tournament, would run the event if Nevada is awarded the bid. It will be submitted through the city of Reno.
SMU officials have hinted they might put in a bid. Dallas, where the school is located, is the site of this year's final four.
Upset city: When sixth-seeded San Jose State defeated No. 3 seed Fresno State, it was the biggest upset in six years of the tournament. The Spartans were also involved in the previous biggest upset win, as the fourth seed from the Pacific Division, they defeated Colorado State, the Mountain Division's top seed.
The tournament has run pretty much according to seeding, with either the No. 1 or No. 2 winning the title. Former WAC member Brigham Young won the first two tournaments, upsetting top-seeded Hawaii in 1996, and again defeating the Rainbow Wahine in 1997.
Hawaii has claimed the last three championships, outlasting top seed BYU in 1998 in the longest match in collegiate volleyball history, as well as beating San Jose State in 2001 and Nevada last season. There was no tournament in 1999 and 2000.
Coaches' corner: San Jose State coach Craig Choate became the winningest coach in school history this year, passing Dick Montgomery, who coached the Spartans from 1981 to 1989. Montgomery had 191. With last night's win over Fresno State, Choate has 197 in 11 seasons.
Lisa Seifert is the only coach SMU has known in the six-year history of the program. Named WAC Coach of the Year on Tuesday, Seifert won her 100th career match on Sept. 12 when the Mustangs rallied to beat Stephen F. Austin 3-1.
She now has 120 as SMU, seeded second, heads into today's semifinal against San Jose State.
Tournament trivia: Hawaii has the most wins in tournament play with 13. The Wahine's only two losses have come in the title matches against BYU.
The win over Louisiana Tech yesterday was SMU's first in four WAC tournament matches. Boise State, which did not make this year's tournament, is 0-1 while former member TCU was 0-2 and Louisiana Tech is 0-3.