Rainbows hit
Maui in foul mood

Not even the prospect of a trip to Maui could brighten Riley Wallace's mood yesterday morning.

A little more than 12 hours after losing its season opener to UC Santa Barbara on Friday night, the Hawaii basketball team was back in the practice gym and Wallace let the Rainbow Warriors know exactly how he felt about the loss.

"He got into us," UH sophomore Logan Lee said. "That's actually the first time this season he got into us and I think it's going to help out a lot."

The Rainbows have little time to fix the problems exposed in the loss as they open play in the 20th EA Sports Maui Invitational tomorrow at the Lahaina Civic Center.

UH arrived on Maui yesterday afternoon and plays Santa Clara of the West Coast Conference in the 6:30 nightcap tomorrow. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The Rainbows will play either Chaminade or Villanova on Tuesday.

On the other side of the bracket, Dayton plays Central Michigan and Ohio State faces San Diego State in the first round.

UH is making its first appearance in the tournament. The field for this year's event may not have the pizzazz of recent tournaments, such as last year, when Kentucky, Utah and Gonzaga made the trip to the Valley Isle. But the opportunity to play in the prestigious early season tournament is no less exciting for the UH players.

"I think it's exciting for the program as a whole because it's the first time the University of Hawaii has been invited," Lee said. "Every year, all the games, ESPN, you keep winning, you keep being on TV."

For the Rainbows to stay in the winners' bracket, they'll have to fend off a Santa Clara team that caused a stir in its last appearance on Maui.

The Broncos upset defending national champion UCLA in the opening round of the 1995 tournament. Santa Clara was led that season by point guard Steve Nash, now a star with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

Wallace expects this year's Broncos to present many of the same looks that UC Santa Barbara showed Hawaii on Friday.

"It'll be a lot more of the same," he said. "Same style where they're going to execute, they're going to play a half-court game, try to mix you up a little bit by changing defenses. It'll be a very similar type of game."

Wallace said he plans to make a change in the starting lineup for tomorrow's game, inserting junior Vaidotas Peciukas at small forward in place of center Paul Jesinskis. Forwards Phil Martin and Julian Sensley will take the post positions.

Peciukas began last season as a starter, but was later replaced by Michael Kuebler. He moves well without the ball in the Rainbows' motion offense and contributed six points on three-of-four shooting off the bench Friday.

"We'll run our offense better, we have to get more offense out there," Wallace said.

After the UCSB game, Wallace indicated that freshman Bobby Nash may see more playing time. In five minutes of play, Nash grabbed three rebounds and nailed two 3-pointers against the Gauchos.

"Bobby Nash was probably the only bright spot of the night as far as I was concerned," Wallace said after the game. "He's young and he'll make some mistakes, but he came out not afraid to shoot the ball, everybody else was tentative with their shots."

Senior center Haim Shimonovich played 20 minutes in the opener and contributed six points and five rebounds. Wallace said Shimonovich's getting closer to being in the starting lineup following an Achilles' injury, but the coach will stick with a smaller lineup tomorrow.

Wallace hoped to light a fire under his team with yesterday's high-volume workout. He'll find out tomorrow whether the wake-up call worked.

"It's more than a wake-up, that was a nightmare last night," Lee said. "But we have to play through it and we have to get this next tournament."

Following is a look at the teams in this year's Maui Invitational:


Coach: Aaron Griess

Conference: Pacific West (NCAA Division II)

2002-03 record: 12-14

The host Silverswords have lost 30 consecutive tournament games to their Division I opponents. They face Villanova in tomorrow's opener led by senior point guard Roy Stigall III, who averaged 12.1 points and 4.3 assists last season. Bryon Sykes returns at the other guard spot after scoring 11 points per game last year. Griess brought in six junior college transfers to bolster the Silverswords in the front court and provide depth in the back court. Center Nick Frey gives Chaminade a presence in the post.


Coach: Jay Smith

Conference: Mid-American

2002-03 record: 25-7 (NCAA)

Central Michigan enters its 100th season of basketball coming off one of its most successful campaigns ever. The Chippewas won the MAC regular-season and tournament titles and knocked off Creighton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. However, they lost center Chris Kaman, the MAC Player of the Year last season and the sixth player chosen in the NBA Draft, and three other starters. CMU's rebuilding project begins with returning starters point guard T.J. Meerman and forward Tony Bowne.

DAYTON (1-0)

Coach: Brian Gregory

Conference: Atlantic 10

2002-03 record: 24-6 (NCAA)

The Flyers were ranked 16th in the country and were granted a fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, but were bounced from the dance in the first round by Tulsa. Thus, Gregory inherits a team with a sense of unfinished business. Gregory replaces Oliver Purnell, who took the head coaching job at Clemson. The defending A-10 champions return four starters, including point guard Ramod Marshall (12.2 points and 4.8 assists per game last year), who scored 21 in a 90-77 win over Pepperdine on Friday. Seniors Sean Finn and Keith Waleskowski give the Flyers and formidable front-court tandem.

HAWAII (0-1)

Coach: Riley Wallace

Conference: Western Athletic

2002-03 record: 19-12 (NIT)

The Rainbows entered the season wondering who would step forward as a go-to player after losing Carl English. So far, an answer hasn't emerged. UH has struggled to find its rhythm on offense in an exhibition win over BYU-Hawaii and a loss to UC Santa Barbara. Sophomore Julian Sensley has wowed the local fans with his athleticism. Center Haim Shimonovich appears to be rounding back into shape and figures to be a key to the team's fortunes the rest of the season.


Coach: Jim O'Brien

Conference: Big Ten

2002-03 record: 17-15 (NIT)

Like Hawaii, the Buckeyes are reeling from a season-opening loss after falling at San Francisco 76-65 on Friday. Ohio State must replace three of its top four scorers of last season. The Buckeyes return 7-foot center Velimir Radinovic, and guards Terence Dials and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham are back from injuries last season. Transfers Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger bolster the back court. Sullinger averaged 21.5 points in two exhibition games. The Buckeyes are also excited about the addition of sophomore guard Ricardo Billings and freshman forward Ivan Harris, a McDonald's All-American last year.


Coach: Steve Fisher

Conference: Mountain West

2002-03 record: 16-14 (NIT)

The Aztecs are resting their hopes on the shoulders of their newcomers this season. Point guard Wesley Stokes is eligible after transferring from Missouri last year. Stokes, who helped the Tigers to the Elite Eight in 2002, had 17 points and six assists in a 74-44 rout of Long Beach State on Friday. Freshmen Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter are ready to contribute right away, as they demonstrated Friday by combining for 31 points. Senior Aerick Sanders is the Aztecs' leading returnee, after averaging 6.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last year.


Coach: Dick Davey

Conference: West Coast

2002-03 record: 13-15

The Broncos were hampered by injuries last year, but get a key performer back in guard Kyle Bailey. The junior was a two-time All-WCC pick before foot and back injuries cut his season short last year. In a little more than two seasons, Bailey averaged 11.3 points per game and drained 103 3-point goals. Senior center Jim Howell leads the front court after averaging nine points per game a year ago. Among the Broncos' losses off last year's team were Iolani graduates Brad and Cord Anderson.


Coach: Jay Wright

Conference: Big East

2002-03 record: 15-16

The Wildcats, winners of the 1995 tournament title, will be the only team with two regular-season games under their belt when they arrive on Maui. Villanova beat Temple 73-48 in a game that tipped off just after midnight on the East Coast on Friday morning. They then beat Division III Redlands 114-103 yesterday to get two suspended players eligible for the tournament. Villanova had just seven players available to play against Temple, but got double-figure scoring from four of them. Guards Randy Foye and Allan Ray led the way with 20 points each.


EA Sports Maui Invitational

At Lahaina Civic Center


Game 1: Chaminade vs. Villanova, 9 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Dayton vs. Central Michigan, noon (ESPN2)
Game 3: Ohio State vs. San Diego State, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 4: Hawaii vs. Santa Clara, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Game 5: Dayton/Central Michigan loser vs. Ohio State/San Diego State loser, 9 a.m.
Game 6: Chaminade/Villanova loser vs. Hawaii/Santa Clara loser, 11 a.m.
Game 7: Dayton/Central Michigan winner vs. Ohio State/San Diego State winner, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 8: Chaminade/Villanova winner vs. Hawaii/Santa Clara winner, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)


Game 9: Fifth Place, Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 9 a.m. (ESPN2)
Game 10: Third Place, Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Game 11: Seventh Place, Game 5 loser vs. Game 6 loser, 2 p.m.
Game 12: Championship, Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


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