Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, January 26, 2002



UH sees Tulsa
in the mirror

The Rainbows return to the scene
of 2001's glory to play the Golden
Hurricane for first place

By Cindy Luis

Mark Campbell has never played at Tulsa, but the junior guard for the Hawaii basketball team knows all about the Rainbows' last appearance in the Reynolds Center.

"The guys have told me we'll have 8,000 enemies in there after what we did to them last season," said Campbell. "We took their NCAA berth away from them. We know they'll be fired up for us."

Last March, it was the Rainbows who were on fire, running the table at the WAC Tournament in Tulsa. Hawaii won three games in three days, concluding their title run with a 78-72 overtime victory over the host Golden Hurricane.

"We want to do it again," said Hawaii senior guard Mike McIntyre, who had five of the team's 12 3-pointers. "We're going into their house, with their crowd, but we know we can win there.

"We need to stay focused so that we can come back home with two road wins."

Hawaii rebounded from its first Western Athletic Conference loss by downing Rice 88-79 in Houston on Thursday. Today's contest concludes a three-game swing that has had the Rainbows on the road since Jan. 17.

McIntyre, scoreless in the loss at San Jose State last Saturday, came off the bench for 20 points against Rice. He hit four 3-pointers.

"I was 'feeling it' and took advantage," said McIntyre, who scored 11 consecutive points during a 17-0 second-half run that put the game away. "I was feeling a little tired before the game, but I knew how important the game was."

Today's game between the WAC's two top teams is just as important. Hawaii comes in at 16-3, 7-1 in the WAC. Tulsa, 15-3, is a half-game back at 6-1.

While Hawaii struggled to put Rice away Thursday night, Tulsa had no such problem with San Jose State. The Golden Hurricane won their fifth straight WAC game, 78-54, behind Kevin Johnson's 20 points.

Tulsa jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never trailed. The Spartans scored just 17 points in their lowest scoring first half of the season.

The Golden Hurricane won by 24, despite having their two leading scorers combine for seven points. Senior guard Greg Harrington and junior guard Dante Swanson were both averaging more than 14 points a game; they scored 2 and 5, respectively, against the Spartans.

Picking up the slack was Tulsa's No. 3 scorer, Johnson, who finished with eight points more than his average. The bench provided 32 points, including 13 by sophomore guard Jason Parker, and the Golden Hurricane were 8 of 16 on 3-pointers.

Tulsa is ready and waiting. The game became an official sellout (8,355) Thursday morning when the remaining student tickets that weren't picked up went on sale to the general public.

Several hundred tickets were gone in 15 minutes.

"I know our players are excited about seeing Hawaii and our fans remember them beating us in overtime last year," said first-year Tulsa coach John Phillips. "We're pretty similar teams, balanced with a lot of different players able to score.

"Hawaii's a good team and our players really respect them. I know we will have to bring our best game to beat them."

And bring their defense. Coming into the week, the Golden Hurricane ranked fifth in the WAC, yielding 69.5 ppg, about what Hawaii was averaging before Thursday's 88-79 win at Rice.

While the Rainbows lead the WAC in scoring defense (60.7 ppg), the Golden Hurricane are atop 10 other categories in overall statistics. It could turn into a shootout if the teams can get their long-range experts loose.

In WAC-only stats, Tulsa (.456) and Hawaii (.412) rank 1-2 in 3-point percentage. The positions are reversed in 3-point goals made, with Hawaii No. 1 (8.62 pg) and Tulsa No. 2 (6.71 pg).

Swanson was back for Thursday's win over San Jose State after missing three games with a badly sprained ankle. Swanson leads the WAC in 3-point percentage (.543) and is second in 3-point goals per game (2.59) in the overall statistics, and is No. 10 in WAC contests only.

Rainbow senior guard Predrag Savovic is not eligible for overall statistical ratings (due to missing seven games), but in WAC-only stats, he is No. 2 in 3-point average (3.12). Sophomore guard Carl English and McIntyre are tied for seventh (1.88 pg).

Tulsa senior guard Greg Harrington is No. 13 in WAC games with a 1.57 average.

The contest will also feature the top two thieves in the league in Campbell, who is No. 1 in steals (2.12 pg), and Tulsa junior guard Antonio Reed (2.00 pg).

The teams run similarly unselfish offenses. Tulsa and Hawaii are 2-3 in team assists and have a combined six players among the top 15 assist men in the conference.

If there is a concern for Phillips, it's size -- or the lack of it -- on his bench. He starts three guards, as do the Rainbows, but the Golden Hurricane measure 5-10, 5-10 and 6-2 to Hawaii's 6-4, 6-5 and 6-6.


When: Today, 3 p.m.
Where: Reynolds Center (8,355), Tulsa, Okla.
TV: Live, KFVE (Ch. 5)
Radio: Live, 1420-AM

And then there's the X factor -- Savo.

"He's such a smart player," said Phillips. "He is a most difficult matchup. You have to keep him under control.

"And English and McIntyre played so well here (in the WAC Tournament). If I was scouting us, I wouldn't know who to guard. It's the same thing with Hawaii."

McIntyre scored 19 points in the championship game last March. Tournament MVP English scored 25 points, including the off-balance shot with 1.8 seconds left in regulation to send it into overtime.

One thing in Tulsa's favor is being at home, where the Golden Hurricane are 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the WAC. Hawaii flew into Tulsa early yesterday afternoon.

"Everything in the WAC is determined by the road trips," said Phillips, whose team matches Hawaii's road record of 3-1. "You have to win at home and then get as many as you can on the road.

"The league is still wide open with only two teams (Rice and San Jose State) out of winning the regular season. But they can cause problems for the rest of the teams. I'm sure Hawaii feels like they gave one away at San Jose State (last Saturday) but that's a tough place to play.

"It's going to be an exciting game and an opportunity to play a high-quality team for first place. Whoever wins is ahead of everybody else, at least for a while."


Conference Overall

W L Pct. GB W L

Hawaii 7 1 .875 -- 16 3

Tulsa 6 1 .857 12 15 3

Fresno St 6 2 .750 1 14 6

La. Tech 5 3 .625 2 11 6

SMU 5 3 .625 2 10 8

Nevada 4 4 .500 3 11 7

Boise St 2 6 .250 5 8 10

UTEP 2 6 .250 5 7 12

Rice 1 6 .143 512 6 11

San Jose 1 7 .125 6 6 14

Today's games

Hawaii at Tulsa, 3 p.m. Hawaii time
SMU at Nevada
Louisiana Tech at Fresno State
San Jose State at Rice
Boise State at UTEP


HAWAII (16-3, 7-1)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Carl English (So.) 6-5 14.3 4.8 3.9

G Mark Campbell (Jr.) 6-4 3.8 2.9 4.3

G Predrag Savovic (Sr.) 6-6 18.8 4.1 2.1

F Phil Martin (So.) 6-8 9.2 5.2 0.9

C H.Shimonovich (So.) 6-10 8.8 6.6 2.8

TULSA (15-3, 6-1)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Greg Harrington (Sr.) 6-2 13.7 3.3 5.7

G Dante Swanson (Jr.) 5-10 13.8 4.1 2.8

G Antonio Reed (Jr.) 5-10 10.8 2.9 4.1

F Charlie Davis (Jr.) 6-7 9.7 7.6 1.0

F Kevin Johnson (Jr.) 6-7 12.9 4.6 1.1

Notes: Tulsa leads the series 6-4 and holds a 4-3 edge in WAC play. Hawaii is 1-4 in Tulsa, with the lone victory coming in the WAC Tournament title game, 78-72 in overtime. The teams split the two regular-season meetings, with Hawaii winning 68-65 in Honolulu and Tulsa winning 79-67 at the Reynolds Center. Tulsa is 6-1 at home this season, the only loss coming to Arkansas, 79-75, on Nov. 28. ... Hawaii coach Riley Wallace is in his 15th season (232-201). ... The Rainbows rebounded from their first WAC loss with an 88-79 victory at Rice. The Rainbows' three losses are by a combined nine points. ... Tulsa coach John Phillips (15-3) is in his first season after serving the past four years as an assistant. ... Guard Greg Harrington is the team's lone senior and has 469 assists, the most in school history. Swanson leads the WAC and is second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.544).

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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