Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, November 26, 2001


Hawaii Pacific's Nick Spajic, right, battles for the ball with
Hampton's Tommy Adams during a consolation game.

Irish run away with HPU title

By Brandon Lee

Many thought that when the Notre Dame basketball team lost All-American Troy Murphy to the NBA after last season, the team would struggle to recover.

But after the Fighting Irish's performance in Hawaii Pacific's Thanksgiving Classic tournament this weekend, they may be an even better team than the one that advanced to the NCAA Tournament's second round last March.

Ryan Humphrey scored a game-high 21 points leading Notre Dame (5-0) to an 85-48 victory over Monmouth (3-1) last night in the championship game at Blaisdell Arena.

Humphrey, a power forward, was a very large part of the Fighting Irish's inside-outside punch that allowed them to dominate in their three tournament wins. Matt Carroll and David Graves added three 3-pointers apiece and scored 15 points against the Hawks. The Fighting Irish won by double-digits in all of their Thanksgiving Classic games.

"We've got a good team," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "(The tournament) was a great experience for us. We got better and more confident. Any time you can win a championship, it's great for your program."

Humphrey received Most Valuable Player honors after totaling 72 points for the tournament, scoring team-highs in all three games. Carroll and Graves joined him on the All-Tournament team, as did freshman teammate Chris Thomas, a freshman point guard.

Completing the roster of honorees were: Rahsaan Johnson and Jason Krayl from Monmouth, Matt Freije and Brendan Plavich from Vanderbilt, Neil Ashby from Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tommy Adams from Hampton and Nash Subotic from Hawaii Pacific.

Kevin Owens led the Hawks with 10 points and Johnson added 8, but Monmouth never challenged Notre Dame. Humphrey scored eight points in the final seven minutes of the first half for a 36-23 Fighting Irish lead. He continued his hot hand to start the second half, hitting three straight baskets for a 42-29 advantage at 17:53.

Notre Dame continued to build its lead, as Graves' 3-pointer with 2:49 left concluded a run of five consecutive Fighting Irish scores from beyond the arc. The final score was the Fighting Irish's biggest advantage of the game.

"I'm not surprised that we can score, but I'm particularly pleased with our defensive improvement from last year," Brey said. "I'm proud of the way our seniors set the tone for not getting distracted from what we needed to do here in paradise. Our guys are expecting to play in the NCAA Tournament again."

Notre Dame shot 54 percent (33-for-61) overall to Monmouth's 32 percent (20-for-63). The Fighting Irish controlled the glass as well, outrebounding the Hawks 48-26.

Vanderbilt 69, Tennessee-Chattanooga 57: In the battle of Volunteer-state teams for third-place in the tournament, the Commodores got by the Mocs, thanks to 19 points each from Matt Freije and Brendan Plavich.

Vanderbilt moved to 3-1 for the year. Tennessee-Chattanooga fell to 2-3.

Neil Ashby had a solid all-around performance for the Mocs with a team-high 15 points and game-highs of seven rebounds and six blocks.

Hampton 83, Hawaii Pacific 76: The Pirates overcame a scrappy performance by the host Sea Warriors to win the consolation bracket final.

Tommy Adams poured in 24 points and Devin Green tallied 23 points and 11 rebounds for Hampton (4-1). Nick Spajic had a game-high 26 points for Hawaii Pacific, hitting six of his nine 3-point attempts en route to a 10-of-14 performance. Zack Anderson added 13 points and Nash Subotic 12 for the Sea Warriors.

Division II HPU (2-2) came close to its second victory over a Division I opponent in as many days, but was ultimately done in by the Pirates down the stretch. The lead changed hands 15 times.

The Sea Warriors led 36-33 at halftime and had their biggest lead of the ballgame at 71-63 with 7:44 left to play after Spajic connected on his fifth 3-pointer of the second half. But Hampton went on a 20-5 run to close out the game.

The Pirates shot 60 percent (34-for-57) overall to the Sea Warriors' 48 percent (26-for-54).

Akron 90, Liberty 56: In a battle between winless tournament teams for seventh-place, Rashon Brown made 10 of 12 from the free-throw line as part of his game-high 19 points in leading the Zips over the Flames.

The victory moved Akron to 2-2 for the year, while Liberty dropped to 1-4.

Vincent Okotie paced Liberty with a team-high 11 points.

Hawaii Pacific
U.H. Hilo

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin