Hawaii's Carl English shot over San Jose State's Antonio Lawrence in the second half last night. English was held to nine points.

Spartans snap
the streak

San Jose State ends Hawaii’s
24-game winning skein
at the Stan Sheriff Center

By Jason Kaneshiro

Of all the teams that had a chance to end Hawaii's home-court dominance since December 2001, San Jose State didn't figure to be the one.

But the Spartans brought the Rainbows' 24-game home winning streak to a stunning halt as Keith West's driving layup around Mark Campbell with two seconds left gave the Spartans a 55-54 Western Athletic Conference victory at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"We ended the (24-game) winning streak at home and beat them twice this year, you have to feel good about that," West said.

The loss dropped Hawaii to 13-8 overall and 6-7 in the WAC, while San Jose State improved to 6-15 and 3-9 in the conference.

The Spartans' win was historic on several fronts as SJSU picked up its first victory over Hawaii in Honolulu since 1952. The win also gave the Spartans their first regular-season sweep of the Rainbows since joining the WAC in 1996 after beating the Rainbows 79-67 in San Jose, Calif., last month.

Hawaii last lost at home on Dec. 14, 2001, to San Diego State 61-58. The Rainbows' last conference defeat in Honolulu came on Jan. 11, 2001, to UTEP (79-71).

A crowd of 6,457 left the Stan Sheriff Center in silence after watching the Spartans execute the game plan to near perfection to pull off the upset.

"When we have the pace our way it seems we can win just about every game, we just had to learn how to close a game out," SJSU forward Antonio Lawrence said.

The Rainbows endured a nightmarish shooting performance, finishing 21-for-48 from the field. They also went 0-for-7 beyond the 3-point line.

UH guard Carl English, who was held to a season-low six points in the teams' first meeting, was 3-for-15 from the field and 0-for-7 beyond the arc for nine points.

"We make it as tough as we can for him to catch it and make him work," SJSU coach Phil Johnson said. "He looked a little out of his rhythm. I don't know if it was what we did as much as he just missed some shots, but I thought we fought pretty hard and maybe had something to do with it."

Perhaps the most telling statistic was San Jose State's 31-22 rebounding advantage. The Spartans grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and frustrated the Rainbows with putbacks.

"Most of their shots were in the paint and a lot them off the boards," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "They outhustled us on the boards."

San Jose State trailed 25-24 at halftime, but the pace of the game was decidedly in the Spartans' favor.

SJSU's 3-0 lead early in the game was the biggest advantage either team held in the first 20 minutes. The Spartans controlled the tempo on the offensive end by spreading the floor and holding the ball, sometimes taking 20 seconds off the shot clock before starting their attack.

"Coach was telling us not to let them lull us to sleep," UH guard Michael Kuebler said. "But it's just awkward playing someone like that."

The Spartans' execution was accentuated by their tenacity on the boards, as they negated the Rainbows' height advantage in the paint to grab eight offensive rebounds and 17 total to Hawaii's 10.

Phil Martin led Hawaii with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, but the Rainbows sputtered offensively for most of the half.

English made just one of seven field-goal attempts and went into the locker room with three points.

Hawaii dusted off its rarely used 1-2-2 zone defense in the first half and it worked early as the Rainbows forced a shot-clock violation and took a 16-14 lead at the 8:35 mark of the half.

But SJSU responded with a tip-in by Lawrence and took the lead when Lawrence stuffed a Kuebler shot to start a fast break capped by West's jumper.

The teams traded the lead for the rest of the half, with Hawaii ending on top on Nkeruwem Akpan's jumper.

Hawaii scored the first six points of the second half to take a 31-24 lead, but the Spartans continued to hang around and leapfrogged ahead of the Rainbows 37-35 on Lawrence's drive and layup with 11 minutes left.

The Spartans' confidence grew as the crowd's impatience swelled, and matters got worse for the Rainbows as Martin, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, fouled out with 7:20 left in the game.

At that point Hawaii was 15-for-40 from the field and 0-for-6 beyond the 3-point line.

But the Rainbows got the crowd back in the game with a 6-0 run and regained a 43-41 advantage on Haim Shimonovich's jumper with 5:34 left.

However, SJSU battled back and took the lead again at 45-43 on a short jumper by Eric Walton.

After Hawaii tied the game at 47, SJSU guard Scott Sonnenberg stunned the crowd by draining a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:35 left.

English responded with a layup to cut the Spartans' lead to one. After a shot-clock violation on SJSU, English fed Campbell for a layup and a foul. Campbell's free throw gave Hawaii a 53-51 lead, but Sonnenberg answered with another trey, this time from the left wing, to push the Spartans ahead again with 15.9 seconds left.

Sonnenberg then fouled Campbell and the senior drained two foul shots to put Hawaii in front with 11.6 seconds remaining.

San Jose State then called time out and designed a play for Hawkins to bring the ball up and look for Lawrence. But the Rainbows double-teammed Hawkins and West ended up with the ball and drove to the basket and hit the game winner.

"We preach that," Johnson said. "As the clock's winding down we want something at the rim. We don't want someone shooting soft fall-away type shots. You have to get it to the rim and be aggressive."

The Rainbows had a final shot as they worked the ball to Campbell. He grabbed the rebound after the attempt clanged off the rim and hit the putback, but the officials ruled the shot came after the buzzer and confirmed it after reviewing television replays.

"The streak's over, but this is still a tough place to play," Wallace said. "That's only two games in two years and we'll keep the streak going in our minds."

WAC standings

WAC games Overall

W L Pct. W L
Fresno St. 11 3 .786 18 5
Nevada 9 4 .692 14 9
Louisiana Tech 9 5 .643 12 9
Rice 7 5 .583 15 7
Tulsa 7 6 .539 14 8
SMU 7 6 .539 12 11
Hawaii 6 7 .462 13 8
Boise St. 4 9 .308 10 13
San Jose St. 3 9 .250 6 15
UTEP 2 11 .154 4 18

Fresno St. 76, SMU 56
Louisiana Tech 99, Nevada 97, OT
San Jose St. 55, Hawaii 54
Rice 72, Boise St. 62
Tulsa 81, UTEP 58

San Jose St. 55, Hawaii 54

SPARTANS (6-15, 3-9 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Moore 0 2 0 0 16 3 4 0
Hawkins 4 11 3 4 34 4 2 11
Sonnenberg 2 5 0 0 25 1 1 6
Lilly 1 4 2 2 32 5 1 12
Everage 5 9 2 2 32 5 1 12
West 3 4 0 0 22 1 1 6
Lawrence 4 9 0 1 23 8 1 9
Okunrinboye 0 0 0 0 15 1 0 0
Guilbeaux 1 4 0 0 11 1 0 2
Walton 2 3 0 0 8 2 0 4
Team 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Totals 22 51 7 9 200 31 10 55

WARRIORS (13-8, 6-7 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Martin 8 12 1 1 32 6 0 17
Shimonovich 3 4 0 0 29 4 2 6
Campbell 1 2 3 3 40 1 7 5
English 3 15 3 4 40 5 4 9
Kuebler 4 10 3 4 40 2 1 11
Akpan 2 5 2 2 19 2 0 6
Team 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Totals 21 48 12 14 200 22 14 54

Key -- fg: field goals; fga: field goals attempted; ft: free throws; fta: free throws attempted; min: minutes; reb: rebounds; a: assists; tp: total points.
Halftime -- Hawaii 25, San Jose St. 24.
3-point goals--San Jose St. 4-6 (Sonnenberg 2-2, Lawrence 1-1, Lilly 1-2, Guilbeaux 0-1), Hawaii 0-7 (English 0-7). Personal fouls--San Jose St. 15, Hawaii 14. Technical fouls--none. Steals-- San Jose St. 1 (Hawkins); Hawaii 5 (Kuebler 3, Shimonovich, Campbell). Blocked shots--San Jose St. 0; Hawaii 5 (Shimonovich 3, Martin, Akpan). Turnovers--San Jose St. 15 (Hawkins 4, Lawrence 3, Guilbeaux 2, Moore, Everage, West, Okunrinboye, Walton, TEAM); Hawaii 11 (Kuebler 4, Martin 3, Shimonovich 2, Campbell, Akpan). Officials--Jerry White, Martin Cota, Ryan Wells. A--8,113.

UH Athletics

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