Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 29, 2001


Hawaii's Phil Martin had 10 points on Thursday night in the Rainbows' 83-73 win over Fresno State.

Keeping momentum

The Rainbows hope to avoid a
letdown against Nevada after
Thursday's big win
over Fresno State

By Cindy Luis

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And so is a little success.

Hawaii and Nevada come in off big opening-night wins in the Western Athletic Conference. Tonight, one of them will take the early conference lead at 2-0.

"As I told our guys, this team has a better record than Fresno," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said after yesterday's practice. "They have a road win and those are the hardest to get in the WAC. They're a good team, seem to be playing well together, and they have enough wins that they believe in themselves and that's what makes them dangerous."

UH Nevada (8-3, 1-0) is coming off a 91-85 overtime win at San Jose State on Thursday. Junior guard Terrance Green scored a season-high 27 points to lead five Wolf Pack players in double figures.

Sophomore guard Garry Hill-Thomas added 21 and freshman forward Kirk Snyder made his season debut with 15 points for Nevada, which already has two more road wins than all of last year. Senior forward Corey Jackson recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore center Sean Paul added 10 points..

"We're worried about their quickness and penetration," said Wallace. "We can't afford to have any kind of letdown. Defensively, they're strong where we are weak.

"Last year, they beat us at their place and played us tough here. We need to win this one and keep it going."

Someone who is hoping to get more time on the floor is Hawaii junior forward Luc-Arthur Vebobe, who played just seven minutes in Thursday's 83-73 win over Fresno The 6-foot-9 Frenchman was heavily recruited by Nevada and it came down to Reno and Hawaii.

"I wanted to play for a team that had a chance to go as far as possible in the NCAA Tournament," said Vebobe, who missed the first six games of the season via an NCAA-mandated suspension for pro-league participation. "I'm happy that Nevada has done very good.

"They've got a nice point guard (sophomore Andre Hazel) and Green's a very good shooter. And I love their coach. He's a very nice man."

Nevada's third-year coach Trent Johnson was equally complimentary toward Vebobe -- "very skilled and talented" -- as well as the rest of the Rainbows.

"I told (UH assistant) coach Jackson Wheeler a few weeks before last year's WAC tournament that they were the team to beat," said Johnson. "This is a good team and there's a reason that they are the defending champs.

"In my opinion, they are a Top 25 team. For us to just to compete with them, we'll have to play flawless basketball. This is a tough place to play."


When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live, KFVE-TV (Channel 5)
Radio: Live, 1420-AM
Lower level$14
Adults (upper)$10
UH students$7
Super Rooter$8

Nevada had just 11 turnovers against San Jose State on Thursday, the same number Hawaii had in its win over Fresno. The Wolf Pack got back on the winning track against the Spartans after a loss at UNLV snapped a three-game winning streak.

Johnson said he's been happiest with the consistency of Hill-Thomas, who has scored 20 or more points in each of the last four games. He has already been to the free-throw line 99 times, hitting 72 of the attempts.

Johnson also likes the play of the 6-7 Jackson, the team's only senior, who leads the WAC in rebounding at 10.9 per game.

Green, who has been the Pack's leading scorer the past two years, shot his way out of a personal slump against the Spartans on Thursday. In two previous games against SJSU, Green had scored a total of two points; two nights ago, he sparked a first-half rally with three consecutive 3-pointers.

"We're still a very young team," said Johnson. "We start three sophomores, a junior and a senior. We are coming in off a win, and that beats the alternative. For us, it's still one game at a time, one practice at a time.

"For me, it's always been not what you did yesterday, it's what will you do today and tomorrow."

Wallace's philosophy is similar. He said he savored the win over Fresno State, watched the television replay Thursday night, and read the papers yesterday.

"I enjoyed it, but now you've got to put it away and get ready for the next one," said Wallace. "I saw a lot of missed opportunities for open shots. We didn't pass the ball to the open man as well as we normally do.

"But I also saw some great players and some good shooting. We just have to keep it going as we head out on the road."

Hawaii will leave Monday for its first conference road trip. The Rainbows are at UTEP on Thursday and Boise State on Saturday.


HAWAII (10-2, 1-0)

Ht Pts Reb Ast

G Carl English (So.) 6-5 15.7 5.3 3.7

G Mark Campbell (Jr.) 6-4 9.9 2.8 3.5

G Predrag Savovic (Sr.) 6-6 17.8 3.6 1.3

F Phil Martin (So.) 6-8 9.1 5.8 1.0

C Haim Shimonovich(So.) 6-10 10.3 7.6 2.2

NEVADA (8-3, 1-0)

Ht Pts Reb Ast

G Andre Hazel (So.) 5-11 10.5 3.4 3.7

G Terrance Green (Jr.) 6-2 15.5 4.6 2.6

G Garry Hill-Thomas (So.) 6-3 19.6 4.7 1,3

F Corey Jackson (Sr.) 6-7 8.5 10.9 0.7

C Sean Paul (So.) 6-9 8.2 4.6 0.8

Notes: The series is tied 4-4. Hawaii leads the series in Honolulu, 4-1, and has won the last four, including a 76-69 victory last year. In games played in Reno, Nevada is 3-0, winning last year's meeting 73-60. Before last season, Nevada's first in the WAC, the teams had not meet since the 1979 Rainbow Classic. ... Hawaii opened conference play with an 83-73 victory over Fresno State. It was the first time since 1997 that the Rainbows won their WAC opener, also the last time they opened WAC play at home.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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