Hawaii's Mike Robinson pulls down a pass over
Arkansas State's Eric Beatty yesterday in the
Zippy's Tournament final.
Bows caught dozing
Arkansas State knocks UHBy Cindy Luis
from the unbeaten ranks
in the Zippy's final
Just when it seemed that the University of Hawaii might get a toe-hold in the Top 25 basketball polls, the Rainbows stumbled badly.
Unheralded Arkansas State got 52 points from its guard tandem of Micah Marsh and Chico Fletcher, and Hawaii was a step too slow all night as the Indians claimed the Zippy's Tournament championship last night, 86-82.
UH moved from 29th with 61 points to 28th with 82 points in the Associated Press poll. Most of the votes were cast before the game.
A Special Events Arena crowd of 8,079 saw the Rainbows, off to their best start in 22 years, get tripped up by an Arkansas State team that smelled upset 55 seconds after tip-off.
"Our kids played very hard tonight," ASU coach Dickey Nutt said. "They knew they had a bad performance (Saturday against Centenary). The idea was to not worry about Hawaii, but worry about what we could do."
With leading scorer Alika Smith sidelined with a sprained toe, the Rainbows (5-1) were chasing all night. Hawaii rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit and held a 67-66 lead with 7:27 left.
But the Rainbows couldn't hold on. The Indians, who didn't attempt a free throw in the first half, were 12 of 16 from the line in the final 7:07 and hit two of their eight 3-pointers to seal the win.
"Their guards were quick and jumped on us from the beginning," said Hawaii guard Anthony "AC" Carter, who finished with 15 points and 11 assists. "They played good defense and they were making their shots. I don't know why we were flat. After the win (Saturday over Long Island), we just relaxed.
"We just need to put this game behind us."
And hope that Smith returns soon. The Rainbows missed their senior guard and his 19-point scoring average.
"I don't know when I'll be back," Smith said as he hobbled out of the arena last night. "The doctors don't know either. I want to get back as soon as I can."
"Obviously, we miss him," senior forward Micah Kroeger said. Kroeger and senior Mike Robinson led UH with 21 points each. "We needed to step up our game without him and we
didn't. It was tough to come back after Saturday's win. We were all tired, but you can't think with your body. This team usually plays with heart and we didn't put enough heart into this game."
It was the first loss in six games for Hawaii, which last opened a season 5-0 in 1975. The Rainbows next host the Hawaii Nike Festival with Texas Southern, Houston and Santa Clara next weekend.
"It's a devastating loss for us," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said. "(No. 1) Duke lost, but it's not going to hurt them in the polls like it hurts us. We're not that caliber of a program and we needed this one to keep our momentum going.
"Our perimeter people were pitiful (5-for-16 from 3-point range). Without Alika, there's nobody we have who's going to make that outside shot. Every time Alika lets a shot go, I feel like it's going to go in. My feeling is that AC misses Alika more than Alika missed AC (when Carter was out against Southern Illinois Dec. 7) because Alika has his shot."
Marsh had his shot last night, tying his career high with 31 points with the help of five 3-pointers. Fletcher added 21 points and Jabari Myles 16.
Named to the all-tournament team were ASU's Marsh and Myles, Hawaii's Carter and Kroeger, Centenary's Herbert Lang and Long Island's Charles Jones.
Long Island 100, Centenary 80: Hit 100 points and win, give up 100 points and lose.
The pattern continued for the Blackbirds last night as they hit the century mark vs. the Gents.
UH cant guardBy Dave Reardon
Special to the Star-Bulletin
The University of Hawaii basketball team learned something last night it should have already known -- play hard, or go down hard.
"The intensity level wasn't there," Rainbows forward Micah Kroeger said. "We didn't give everything we had. It hurts to find out the hard way. But if that's what it takes . . ."
Last night's loss to Arkansas State, 86-82, in the championship of the Zippy's Tournament, was similar to Hawaii's victory over Indiana to open the season: An underdog with something to prove beat a taller and more noted opponent through hustle and superior guard play.
"This is a real big win," said Indians guard Micah Marsh, who was the tournament's most valuable player. "I don't think many people believed we could come in here and win. We proved ourself against a nationally recognized team."
Marsh scored 31 points and Chico Fletcher added 21, outscoring Rainbow guards Anthony Carter, Casey Cartwright and Chad Hook by 30 points.
Alika Smith, who normally starts with Carter, was out with an injured toe.
"When you play on someone else's home court you expect them to be at a high intensity level, regardless who they've got in there," Fletcher said. "But they're probably a much better team with him (Smith)."
Marsh and Fletcher keyed Arkansas State's opening 11-2 blitzkrieg and Hawaii never seemed to recover.
Three quick steals, two by Marsh and one by Fletcher, got the Arkansas State fast break in gear. Fletcher scored twice and assisted twice, and Marsh tossed in the first of five 3-pointers to cap the run.
"We just weren't ready for them and they played their offense to perfection," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said.
Arkansas State improved to 5-3 with its third straight victory. But its program is so unheralded that its most well-known alumnus starred in the movie "Hoop Dreams." Actually, Arthur Agee isn't all that famous.
"To tell you the truth, I never heard of him," Fletcher said when told he had moved past Agee, who was ninth on the school's career assist leader list. "Shows you how much I look at the stats."
Indians coach Dickey Nutt said unselfishness is a team trademark.
"Our guards played well," Nutt said. "But the best thing about this team is its all-for-one-and-one-for-all attitude. That helped offset the talent level (difference) with Hawaii."
They were pumped up for the Rainbows, who moved from 29th to 28th in the Associated Press poll. And the Indians also were motivated by their own lackluster performance in beating Centenary, 62-58, on Saturday.
"We stunk it up yesterday really bad," Fletcher said. "We weren't too excited about that win."
But the Indians loved this one.
Arkansas St. 86, Hawaii 82
Indians (5-3 overall)
mp fgm fga ftm fta reb pf tp Harvey 37 4 10 3 7 7 1 11 Marsh 38 10 17 5 7 5 1 31 Fletcher 35 7 15 0 3 4 1 21 Myles 37 8 12 0 0 7 3 16 Beatty 20 1 2 0 0 4 4 3 Holloway 9 0 1 0 0 1 4 0 Hicks 24 2 5 0 0 2 5 4 Team 1 Totals 200 32 62 8 17 31 19 86Rainbows (5-1 overall)
mp fgm fga ftm fta reb pf tp Robinson 28 10 14 1 1 7 3 21 Kroeger 34 8 10 3 7 5 4 21 Cartwright 22 1 4 1 2 2 1 4 Carter 40 5 17 4 7 4 5 15 Ambrozich 33 3 7 6 7 8 1 12 Galloway 18 3 5 0 0 5 2 6 Hook 25 1 5 0 0 2 4 3 Team 1 Totals 200 31 62 15 24 34 20 823-point goals--Arkansas St. 8-17 (Marsh 5-7, Harvey 3-7, Fletcher 0-3), UH 5-16 (Kroeger 2-3, Cartwright 1-3, Hook 1-3, Carter 1-7).
Assists--Arkansas St. 16 (Fletcher 7), UH 24 (Carter 11). Turnovers--Arkansas St. 12, UH 14. Steals--Arkansas St. 7 (Fletcher 3), UH 4 (Robinson 2). Blocked shots--None.
A--8,079. Officials: Jim Danner, Stanley Reynolds, Pat Tanibe.
1997-98 Rainbow Mens Basketball Schedule