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Sunday, January 25, 2004



[ RAINBOW BASKETBALL ]


art
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii coach Riley Wallace gave a referee a piece of his mind during last night's game against Boise State.


Still on a roll

Hawaii comes from behind
to beat a scrappy Boise State
squad


The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors maintained their grip on first place in the Western Athletic Conference by their fingertips last night as they hung on for a 64-58 victory over Boise State at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii protected a one-point lead for four minutes down the stretch and sealed the win with seven free throws in the final 17 seconds.

The tight battle held to form in a series in which four of the five meetings between the schools have been decided by six points or fewer.

"Every time we play them they have a way of taking us out of our game," UH guard Michael Kuebler said. "But we kind of fought through it and we were able to come out at the end."

The UH win, combined with Rice's 101-76 loss at Nevada last night, gave the 'Bows sole possession of first place in the WAC.

A crowd of 7,799, the largest of the season, watched the Rainbows (14-3, 6-1 WAC) tie a school record by winning their sixth straight WAC game. They will try to break the mark on a key conference road trip this week. The team is scheduled to leave for Houston tonight and plays Rice on Wednesday and Tulsa on Saturday.

"It's a tough one to take, but they're a very good team," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "They're big and strong and Kuebler's a very good player."

Kuebler led all scorers with 20 points, while forward Phil Martin added 13. But the Rainbows were sparked by the play of center Haim Shimonovich, who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.

"He's our engine," said UH forward Julian Sensley, who had 12 points and seven rebounds. "When we've got Haim running the floor like he does and getting easy baskets like he does it brings the whole team to life."

Hawaii went without a field goal in the final 5:23 of the game, but held Boise State (11-6, 3-4) to two points in that span and knocked down free throws in the last minute to hang on to the win.

"It was two teams hungry for the win," Sensley said. "We were both playing great D on both sides and we got the better end of it. We were just able to knock down free throws down the stretch."

Boise State was without four players for disciplinary reasons, including starting guard Bryan Defares, who had been averaging 11.3 points per game entering the contest.

BSU guard Jermaine Blackburn led three Broncos in double figures with 19 points, while Aaron Haynes had 13 and Franco Harris finished with 10.

"I was frustrated because I thought we were playing pretty well and they stayed with us," said BSU freshman Coby Karl, who started in place of Defares and scored nine points. "It felt like we were ahead but they were still right there with us."


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RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Julian Sensley celebrated after stuffing a Boise State shot during last night's game.


Boise State disrupted the Rainbows' rhythm by switching frequently between a man-to-man and 2-3 zone defense and took a 30-27 advantage into halftime.

"You have to give Boise a lot of credit for their defense. They really stuck it on us in the first half," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "They had us in a non-attack mode against that zone in the first half."

Blackburn scored 12 points in the first half, most of them coming on pull-up jumpers.

Kuebler made seven of his 11 shots from the field and scored 10 of Hawaii's final 12 points of the first half. The Rainbows went scoreless after Kuebler's jumper gave UH a 27-22 lead with 5:15 left in the half and the Broncos raced to the lead and scored the first five points of the second half to open up a 35-27 advantage.

UH reclaimed the lead with a 10-2 run as Logan Lee's jumper with two seconds left on the shot clock put UH up 42-41. But the Broncos responded with two Harris 3-pointers to go back in front 47-44.

The Rainbows tied the game at 49 as Shimonovich converted on a three-point play. Shimonovich then tipped the ball away on the defensive end and Sensley took off down court and flipped in a layup while being fouled by Karl. His free throw gave UH a 54-51 advantage with 7:05 left.

UH held a 57-53 lead when a 3-pointer by Blackburn cut the BSU deficit to one with 4:17 left.

Haynes had a chance to tie the game with a free throw with 18.6 seconds remaining. But with the crowd roaring, his shot bounced out and Sensley was fouled while grabbing the rebound.

Sensley knocked down both shots and Lee and Kuebler added five more in the final 11 seconds to seal the win.


WAC standings


Conference All games

W L Pct. W L Pct.
Hawaii 6 1 .857 14 3 .824
Fresno St. 6 2 .750 10 7 .588
Rice 5 2 .714 13 5 .722
Nevada 5 3 .625 11 6 .647
UTEP 4 3 .571 13 4 .765
Boise St. 3 4 .429 11 6 .647
Louisiana Tech 3 4 .429 9 8 .529
SMU 2 5 .286 8 9 .471
Tulsa 2 5 .286 6 10 .375
San Jose St. 0 7 .000 5 12 .294

Yesterday's games
Louisiana Tech 75, SMU 61
UTEP 82, San Jose St. 72
Fresno St. 68, Tulsa 61
Nevada 101, Rice 76
Hawaii 64, Boise St. 58


Hawaii 64, Boise State 58

BRONCOS (11-6, 3-4 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Skiffer 0 3 0 0 33 2 4 0
Karl 3 9 1 2 24 5 0 9
Haynes 6 12 0 1 29 5 2 13
Blackburn 9 15 0 0 37 3 1 19
Ellis 2 5 1 2 33 6 2 5
Bates 0 2 2 2 16 1 0 2
Harris 3 8 1 2 28 2 3 10
Team




5
Totals 23 54 5 9 200 29 12 58

WARRIORS (14-3, 6-1 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Martin 5 9 3 4 29 2 0 13
Shimonovich 5 9 2 2 36 9 4 12
Lee 1 3 3 4 31 2 3 5
Kuebler 8 13 2 3 33 5 2 20
Sensley 4 11 3 3 40 7 1 12
Carter 0 4 0 0 9 1 1 0
Nash 0 0 0 0 7 1 0 0
Blackett 0 5 2 2 11 3 0 2
Jesinskis 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0
Team




5
Totals 23 54 15 18 200 36 11 64

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 -- BSU 30, Hawaii 27.
3-point goals -- BSU 7-19 (Harris 3, Karl 2, Haynes, Blackburn), Hawaii 3-14 (Kuebler 2, Sensley). Personal fouls -- BSU 18, Hawaii 14. Steals -- BSU 6 (Skiffer 2, Karl, Haynes, Blackburn, Ellis), Hawaii 6 (Sensley 3, Carter 2, Lee). Blocked shots -- BSU 3 (Ellis 2, Haynes), Hawaii 5 (Shimonovich 3, Carter, Nash). Turnovers -- BSU 16 (Haynes 5, Skiffer 3, Karl 3, Blackburn 3, Ellis, Harris), Hawaii 16 (Shimonovich 5, Lee 3, Kuebler 2, Martin, Sensley, Carter, Nash, Blackett, team).
A -- 8,962.

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