Hawaii's Phil Martin lost control of the ball as he sailed over Minnesota's Kevin Burleson in an NIT second-round game last night. UH lost 84-70.

trip ’Bows
in NIT

Minnesota beats Hawaii in
the second round to end
the Rainbows’ season

By Jason Kaneshiro

MINNEAPOLIS >> The Hawaii basketball team's road show finally came to an end last night.

The Rainbow Warriors controlled the first 29 minutes of their National Invitation Tournament second-round game with Minnesota. But they couldn't stem a Golden Gopher rally in the second half and were eliminated from the tournament with an 84-70 loss.

"They turned it up a notch, but we didn't have the gas to answer back when they got the lead," UH guard Carl English said.

Hawaii ends its season at 19-12. Minnesota (18-12) advances to the NIT quarterfinals and will face the winner of today's game between Temple and Rhode Island later this week.

The loss ended a grueling two-week stretch on the road for the Rainbows and the mileage became evident late in last night's game.

"They wore us down," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said. "We've been on the road a while ... it's not an excuse but they are kids and they do get tired, and (Minnesota) played it smart by pushing it."

Minnesota guard Maurice Hargrow led all scorers with 22 points, including 11 during the Gophers' decisive 15-2 run midway through the second half to erase a nine-point Hawaii lead.

"They did a good job of executing their game plan, but we stuck with what we had to do and eventually the tables turned," Hargrow said. "We knocked down some shots and got the stops we needed to win this ballgame."

Minnesota guard Ben Johnson came off the bench to add 18 points on eight-of-nine shooting from the field and center Jerry Holman provided 14 points.

The Gophers' height also proved too much for the Rainbows to counter as Minnesota grabbed 39 rebounds -- 18 on the offensive end -- to Hawaii's total of 22. The Gophers also outscored UH 36-28 in the paint.

"We felt this was a team we had to attack inside but at halftime two of our posts had taken eight (3-point shots)," Minnesota coach Dan Monson said. "In the second half we explored inside before we took jump shots."

Said Wallace: "They really turned it up and really played aggressive, especially in the second half and just annihilated us on the boards."

Hawaii guard Michael Kuebler scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the first half and drained six 3-pointers. English finished with 19, while forward Phil Martin had 13 and center Nkeruwem Akpan added 12.

Kuebler and English combined to hit six of nine 3-point attempts in the first half as Hawaii took a 40-36 advantage at halftime.

But Minnesota extended its defense to a full-court look in the second half and switched between man-to-man and triangle-and-two schemes to disrupt Hawaii's rhythm.

"We felt like if (Monson) stayed in the original defense we'd shoot him out," Wallace said. "But then he extended his defense to get us out of sync and we weren't as fluid in our motion on offense which is very important to us."

Hawaii's hot shooting in last week's NIT first-round win over UNLV carried over into the first half of last night's game.

English and Kuebler opened the game with 3-pointers and the Rainbows never trailed in the first 20 minutes. But Minnesota was able to stay close with its play inside.

"They caused some mismatches with their size," English said. "I think a key was their offensive rebounding. They got a lot of extra putbacks and that's what kept them in it in the first half because we were shooting pretty good."

UH opened up its biggest lead of the game at 50-41 on Kuebler's sixth 3-pointer early in the second half. But Minnesota responded with an 11-2 run and tied the game at 52 on a Holman jumper with 13:32 left in the game.

A putback dunk by Akpan gave Hawaii the lead for the last time at 56-54. Minnesota took its first lead on a steal and layup by Kevin Burleson with 10:46 left.

Burleson's bucket was part of a 13-0 Minnesota run which gave the Gophers a 64-56 lead with seven minutes left in the game.

"It seems like stuff like that happens to us every game, it just all depends on when we can cut it off," Kuebler said. "That's what good teams do, they make runs at you and we weren't able to stop it quick enough this game."

The Gophers were content to trade baskets the rest of the way and put the contest away at the free-throw line, where they made 21 of 27 attempts.

"Once we got over that hump there was no looking back," Holman said.

Although the season ended with thoughts of what could have been, Wallace and the Rainbow players were generally upbeat in their evaluation of the campaign.

"It was a lot of ups and downs," English said. "We could have had a great season, we were on the verge of it. A couple of calls could have changed the whole season. But I'm just proud of the guys. A lot of guys improved and it was fun working with the seniors."

Minnesota 84, Hawaii 70


Martin 5 14 3 4 34 5 3 13
Akpan 5 11 2 2 30 3 2 12
Campbell 0 0 0 0 36 2 6 0
English 7 13 2 3 40 2 4 19
Kuebler 7 12 0 0 31 1 1 20
Carter 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0
Shimonovich 0 2 1 2 16 4 1 1
Peciukas 2 2 0 0 9 0 1 5
Team 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0
Totals 26 55 8 11 200 22 18 70


Rickert 4 11 7 8 31 5 0 16
Bauer 2 10 0 0 25 8 4 5
Holman 7 8 0 1 28 4 1 14
Hargrow 5 10 9 12 35 6 3 22
Burleson 1 1 2 2 35 4 4 4
Gaines 1 2 0 0 9 3 0 2
Johnson 8 9 2 2 28 4 3 18
Esselink 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0
Hagen 1 5 1 2 7 4 2 3
Team 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Totals 29 56 21 27 200 39 18 84

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 40, Minnesota 36
3-point goals--Hawaii 10-20 (Kuebler 6-10, English 3-8, Peciukas 1-1, Carter 0-1), Minnesota 5-15 (Hargrow 3-4, Rickert 1-4, Bauer 1-7).
Personal fouls--Hawaii 22, Minnesota 12.
Fouled out--Akpan. Steals--Hawaii 8 (Akpan 2, Martin 2, Shimonovich 2, Campbell, Kuebler), Minnesota 10 (Hargrow 4, Bauer 2, Burleson 2, Johnson, Rickert).
Blocked shots--Hawaii 4 (Shimonovich 3, Martin), Minnesota 5 (Bauer 4, Hargrow).
Turnovers--Hawaii 16, Minnesota 14.
Officials--Mike Fote, Tim Fogarty, John Hampton.

UH Athletics

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