Senior Phil Martin is Hawaii's nominee for WAC player of the week after making 74 percent of his field-goal attempts.

Rainbows achieve
their goal

UH wins three straight in
preparation for the Rainbow Cassic

Mission accomplished ... for now.

The Hawaii basketball team went into last week's stretch of three games looking to find its groove heading into the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic and the Western Athletic Conference season soon to follow.

The Rainbow Warriors (5-2) got what they wanted in the form of three victories, each more impressive than the last.

After overcoming a ragged outing to beat Oregon State in overtime last Monday, the 'Bows turned in efficient performances in lopsided wins over Texas Southern and New Orleans to win the Adidas Festival.

"This is all preparation," UH guard Michael Kuebler said. "We're trying to just keep on building and each game get better and so far I think we've been able to do that."

UH shot 53 percent from the field in the two-day tournament and racked up 48 assists to just 15 turnovers in a 97-67 win over Texas Southern on Friday and a 92-64 rout of New Orleans on Saturday. The Rainbows had averaged 63.4 points in their previous five games.

"Everybody played both nights, so it gave them all confidence," UH coach Riley Wallace said.

The team's collective success was rooted in several impressive individual performances from its starting five.

>> Kuebler averaged 20 points in the three games, including a 29-point outing against New Orleans.

>> Senior forward Phil Martin, UH's nominee for WAC player of the week, made 74 percent of his field-goal attempts (17-for-23) and had 18 rebounds in the tournament.

>> Point guard Logan Lee had 15 assists against no turnovers while sharing time with Jason Carter, who sparked the team by pushing the ball in transition.

>> Forward Julian Sensley displayed his all-around game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists over two days.

But Wallace pointed to the team's biggest player as the biggest reason for the 'Bows' improvement. Center Haim Shimonovich made nine of 14 shots and helped UH win the battle on the boards in both games by grabbing 16 rebounds in the tournament.

"I think the biggest key is that Haim has gotten in shape," Wallace said. "By him being in shape, getting up and down the floor the team is pushing a little bit more too and you're going to score more points that way."

The bench did its part against Texas Southern, accounting for 49 points.

With a bit of momentum pushing them along, the Rainbows now turn their focus to trying to win their third consecutive Rainbow Classic championship before heading into the WAC schedule in January.

To advance to the semifinals, the 'Bows will have to get past a Lamar team coached by Billy Tubbs in Saturday's opening round. Tubbs was a UH tormentor as coach at Texas Christian when the Horned Frogs were members of the WAC.

"He loves to come to Hawaii and you know he'll have something ready for us," Wallace said. "His teams will get up and down the floor, so we'll have to be ready to play them."

With the NCAA's two-in-four rule limiting the pool of teams available to play in exempted events, this year's Classic field certainly doesn't pack the star power of tournaments past. Joining UH and Lamar in the tournament are East Tennessee State, Indiana-Purdue at Indianapolis, Fairfield, Bowling Green, Pepperdine and American.

"It'll be an interesting tournament," Wallace said. "I think it's going to be like the Maui (Invitational) was, where anybody can step up and win it. We're at home, so we should have the advantage, but we're going in now with a very positive attitude."


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