UH bashes College of Charleston


POSTED: Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two halves of complete basketball, at last.

Hawaii certainly needed them.

The Rainbow Warriors put together their most complete game of the season in posting an 84-71 victory over College of Charleston in the first round of the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 4,567 saw the Rainbow Warriors (6-4) lead wire to wire in an important victory televised nationally on ESPNU. UH weathered a furious Cougars (5-5) rally led by guard Andrew Goudelock down the stretch.

Hawaii advanced to the Classic semifinals against UNLV (11-1) today at 6:30 p.m., and will get an even tougher test against the press. The Runnin' Rebels rank among the national leaders in steals and dismantled SMU end to end for much of their earlier quarterfinal.

But UH had to fend off the dangerous Cougars of the Southern Conference first, and Petras Balocka rose to the occasion. The senior forward tallied 19 points, 13 rebounds, and tied a career high with six assists. He also had seven of UH's 21 turnovers, but received a standing ovation when he checked out with the game in hand with 50 seconds left.

Hiram Thompson added 15 points, five assists, and six rebounds, and Dwain Williams scored 11 off the bench.

In the first meeting between the schools, UH shot 60 percent from the field and held Charleston to 37 percent. The Rainbows reached the semifinals of an eight-team tournament for the first time under coach Bob Nash and is on a Nash-best four-game winning streak. UH moved within a victory of 200 all-time in the Sheriff.

Charleston had little time to prepare for UH after arriving fresh off a beatdown at Clemson's hands on Saturday, but the Rainbows had plenty of time to prepare — nine days off — for their first-round opponent.

The Cougars looked to push the ball in transition and hit open shooters beyond the arc. But UH did a respectable job of getting back on defense and closing out on the marksmen, forcing the Cougars into some tough shots. They were stingy, however — turning the ball over just six times — and steadily tightened the game in the second half.

C of C cut it to 59-48 on a floater by Goudelock with 9 minutes to play, and a Tony White Jr. layup cut it to 10. Donavan Monroe nailed a 3-pointer with 4:45 left as Charleston's Casaan Breeden was whistled for an intentional foul. Balocka missed both free throws, and it crept to an eight-point game before Balocka hit five of six free throws to reestablish control for his team.

Goudelock led Charleston with 29 points.

Saint Mary's 78, Northeastern 67

Omar Samhan scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Gaels over the Huskies.

“;They're hard to get rid of,”; Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. “;I watched them play a lot. They pressure, they just keep coming. (They) put pressure on us, got steals ... they mix it up on you. A lot of the time it comes down to making shots down the stretch. I thought we did; that gave us a chance to separate.”;

The Gaels of the West Coast Conference went 10-for-21 from beyond the arc, but struggled to put away the pesky Huskies of the Colonial Athletic Association until the final 2 minutes when SMC (nursing a 66-61 lead) got two key offensive rebounds and made all 10 free throws once NU resorted to fouling.

“;(The offensive rebounds) were huge,”; Bennett said. “;Those were huge at the end, getting those second shots ... I think it was a critical possession.”;

Manny Adako and Matt Janning scored 20 points apiece to lead the Huskies (2-6), who went 0-for-8 from 3-point range. NU meets Western Michigan in the consolation semifinals at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

USC 55, Western Michigan 51

Mike Gerrity scored 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting and the Trojans shot 53.6 percent from the field in the second half to beat the Broncos.

“;I'm really, really proud of our team because on two different occasions, we made runs back,”; USC coach Kevin O'Neill said. “;(WMU) hit big 3s, all of a sudden we're down again. But we knew what we were supposed to do basketball-wise the whole way, gave ourselves a chance to win, made some free throws down the stretch.”;

WMU (4-5) led most of the physically played game. The Broncos had a final chance when they got the ball out of bounds down three points with 12.4 seconds left, but David Kool's 25-footer to tie rolled off the rim and USC held on. WMU continued a trend of alternating wins and losses all season.

Marcus Johnson, Nikola Vucevic and Dwight Lewis scored 10 apiece for the Trojans, but it was Gerrity's go-ahead three-point play with 1:28 left that sealed it. USC put up just 18 points in the first half on 22.7 percent shooting.

“;We were flat,”; O'Neill said. “;And we missed shots. A bit of a letdown after a big win (77-55 over No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday). I don't take anything away from them, they're very good. They're good defensively, they execute well offensively. They kind of took the game to us in the first half.”;

Martelle McLemore put in a game-high 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting for the Broncos, but scorer David Kool was held to 11 — 10 points below his average — on a 4-for-15 game.

UNLV 67, SMU 53

Four Runnin' Rebels players scored in double figures as UNLV dismantled the Mustangs.

Tre'Von Willis and Anthony Marshall scored 12 points apiece to lead the feverish Rebels attack. UNLV (11-1) shot 50 percent, claimed a 28-point lead and hounded the Mustangs (4-4) into 21 turnovers. Chance Stanback added 11 points and Matt Shaw 10.

“;Real sharp, good awareness, activity,”; Rebels coach Lon Kruger said of the overall effort. “;I thought we got a little defensive there midway through of the second half. We turned it over a few times to lose some momentum.”;

The deep Rebels notched a 32-5 advantage in bench points, but saw their sizable lead wither in the waning moments. Derek Williams led SMU with 18 points against seven turnovers.

UNLV enjoyed a 42-19 halftime lead and held SMU to 23.3 percent shooting from the field in the first period.


White Jr.4-110-012100227
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Key — fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime — Hawaii 39, College of Charleston 27

3-point goals — CoC - 7-27 (White Jr. 2-7, Goudelock 2-9, Breeden 1-2, Lawrence 1-3, Monroe 1-5, Hall 0-1), Hawaii 5-7 (Williams 3-4, Mayen 1-1, Thompson 1-2).

Steals — CoC 6 (Monroe 2, Breeden 2, White Jr., Pugh), Hawaii 4 (Balcoka 2, Flemings 2). Blocked shots — CoC 5 (Simmons 2, Wright 2, Breeden). Hawaii 1 (Thompson)

Officials — Terry Moore, Brent Meaux, Terry Oglesby.

A— 4,567.