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Wednesday, December 31, 2003



[ RAINBOW BASKETBALL ]


art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii sophomore Julian Sensley put up the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime of last night's tournament final.


HAWAII 50, FAIRFIELD 49, OT

Sensley gives
’Bows title

The sophomore's three-pointer in
OT gives UH a win over Fairfield
in the Rainbow Classic final


Welcome home, Julian Sensley.

The former Kalaheo standout, who returned from a nomadic journey to join the Hawaii basketball program this season, hit a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left in overtime to send the Rainbow Warriors to a 50-49 victory over the Fairfield Stags in the championship game of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"Especially with everything I've gone through in the last two years, to be able to hit a game-winning shot like that in front of my family means a lot to me," Sensley said.

UH guard Michael Kuebler, the tournament's most valuable player, scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half as UH captured its ninth Rainbow Classic championship and its third in a row. The win was Hawaii's sixth straight and ended a five-game winning streak for Fairfield.

Sensley recorded his third double-double in the last four games, finishing with 12 rebounds and 12 points.

Fairfield forward Deng Gai nearly carried the Stags to the title with 17 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots.

"We did a lot of good things defensively," Fairfield coach Tim O'Toole said. "Sensley hits a big three. I think he was 0-for-5 before that shot, it's just one of those things. And Kuebler is a special player."

Hawaii (7-2), which had been averaging 87 points in its last five games, set a Rainbow Classic record for fewest points scored in a first half and trailed 21-13 going into the break.

The Rainbows' first basket came on a dunk by Sensley at the 10:42 of the first half.


art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Julian Sensley was mobbed by teammates last night after sinking the winning shot in OT to beat Fairfield, 50-49.


Fortunately for Hawaii, Fairfield (7-2) didn't fare much better from the field as the Stags started out 4-for-23.

But Fairfield's work on the boards allowed the Stags to open up a slight advantage. The Stags outrebounded UH 29-17 in the first half and their first three baskets came on putbacks.

The rims loosened for both teams in the second half. Sensley completed two three-point plays to spark an 8-0 run and Kuebler's pull-up jumper tied the game at 29 with 10:57 left.

UH then took its first lead of the game on a Kuebler 3-pointer. But Fairfield responded with an 11-2 run and took a 42-34 lead on Gai's baseline jumper with 3:09 left.

UH scored the next six points and closed to 42-40 with 51.4 seconds left.

Fairfield guard Tyquawn Goode missed the front end of a one-and-one and UH's Phil Martin grabbed the rebound.

After a Hawaii timeout, Kuebler's jumper was off the mark, but Martin won a scramble for the rebound and his putback crawled into the net to tie the game with eight seconds left.

Terrence Todd had a chance to win it, but his jumper bounced out at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Todd bounced back to score the first five points of overtime. Kuebler countered with five points of his own and UH got the ball back with 27 seconds left and trailing 49-47.

The Rainbows set up in their halfcourt offense and Sensley fired from the left wing and drained the game-winner.

Fairfield's DeWitt Maxwell had a final chance to win it, but his attempt was off line, sparking a wild celebration for the Rainbows.

Both Kuebler and Sensley played the entire 45 minutes.

Hawaii was victorious despite shooting just 28.8 percent from the field in the game. But they were able to hold the Stags to 30.9 percent.

"There's a good lesson here tonight, that the guys didn't give up and that defense will carry you when your shots' not falling," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "They fell in the end for us and we won the ballgame. Just keep working your rears off on the defensive side and good things will happen."


All-tournament team
MVP--Michael Kuebler, Hawaii
Akeem Clark, IUPUI
Alex Acker, Pepperdine
Jerald Fields, ETSU
Deng Gai, Fairfield
Phil Martin, Hawaii


Hawaii 50, Fairfield 49, OT

Stags (7-2)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Maxwell 4 13 2 2 39 5 0 10
Bell 1 3 0 0 36 1 1 3
Todd 4 15 0 0 33 8 3 9
Thomson 2 6 2 2 30 6 0 6
Gai 8 20 0 0 42 18 0 17
Goode 1 4 0 1 14 1 0 2
Sogadzi 1 5 0 0 19 4 3
Van Schaick 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
Carter 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 0
Feleccia 0 1 0 0 5 2 0 0
O'Sullivan 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0
Team




3
Totals 21 68 4 5 225 50 7 49

Warriors (8-2)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Martin 3 9 0 0 43 9 0 6
Shimonovich 1 5 2 4 32 7 1 4
Lee 0 3 2 2 26 1 4 2
Kuebler 7 20 5 6 45 5 0 22
Sensley 4 16 3 4 45 12 3 12
Carter 2 5 0 0 19 0 0 4
Blackett 0 0 0 0 5 1 0 0
Jesinskis 0 1 0 0 10 0 0 0
Team




4


Totals 17 59 12 16 225 39 8 50

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 -- Fairfield 21, Hawaii 13.
3-point goals -- Fairfield 3-13 (Bell, Todd, Gai), Hawaii 4-17 (Kuebler 3, Sensley). Personal fouls -- Fairfield 15, Hawaii 10. Steals -- Fairfield 5 (Thomson 2, Goode 2, Sogadzi), Hawaii 6 (Martin 4, Sensley, Blackett). Blocked shots -- Fairfield 7 (Gai 6, Carter), Hawaii 6 (Shimonovich 3, Martin, Kuebler, Sensley). Turnovers -- Fairfield 14 (Thomson 3, Todd 2, Goode 2, Feleccia 2, O'Sullivan 2, Carter, Gai, Bell), Hawaii 10 (Sensley 3, Carter 2, Shimonovich 2, Martin, Lee, Kuebler).
A -- 7,384.


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