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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 19, 2001

English's hot hand propels Hawai'i to tourney crown

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

With all the controversy surrounding its foreign players this week, the focus of the Hawai'i men's basketball team remained English.

Hawai'i's Phil Martin contests the shot of Drake's David Bancroft as Carl English looks on during the title game of the Nike Tip-Off Tournament.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Proving that his performance in last season's Western Athletic Conference Tournament was no fluke, Carl English scored 22 points to lead the Rainbow Warriors to a 74-63 victory over Drake last night in the championship game of the Nike Tip-Off Tournament. A crowd of 3,587 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows improve to 2-0.

English, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, scored 14 points in the second half, when Hawai'i rallied from a nine-point deficit. He was named the tournament's most valuable player, just as he was during last season's WAC Tournament.

"After last year, I got a lot of confidence in myself, and so did my teammates," said English, who connected on 9 of 14 shots.

Senior guard Mike McIntyre came off the bench to contribute 22 points, while Phil Martin added 15. Mindaugas Burneika, who was named to the all-tournament team with English, had eight points and eight assists.

For the second consecutive game, Hawai'i played without three players currently under NCAA investigation, including leading scorer Predrag Savovic.

For the second consecutive game, English was a more than capable fill-in as the team's go-to player.

In a tale of two halves, the 'Bows out-scored the Bulldogs, 57-37, in the second half after trailing, 26-17, at halftime.

"We wanted to be a championship team and we knew that if we didn't come out and play in the second half, we were going to come out losers," English said.

Coach Riley Wallace insisted that he did not put on a halftime tirade for his team: "This is not a hell, fire and damnation team, so most people will say Riley went in with his red hair and Irish temper and laid it out. That's not what happened."

Instead, Wallace said he instructed his team to keep taking its normal shots, even though the 'Bows connected on just 7-of-25 field goals (28 percent) in the first half.

Carl English was bamed MVP of the Tip-Off Tournament.

Advertiser library photo

McIntyre, who did not start because of a deep bruise on his right thigh, was apparently listening. After 1-of-6 shooting in the first half, he scored 20 points in the second half, hitting 5-of-9 from the field and all six of his free throws.

"Coach told me just to take my time and plant my feet," McIntyre said. "The defense (Drake) was playing, they were letting us have shots. We just had to make 'em."

Drake coach Kurt Kanaskie said: "The biggest difference in the second half was that (Hawai'i) did a great job of moving the ball and shooting the ball."

Hawai'i opened the game with an 11-3 lead after the first four minutes, but then lost its shooting touch. After tying the score at 15 on a short jump shot by McIntyre midway through the half, the 'Bows went scoreless for the next eight minutes.

During that stretch, Hawai'i failed to score on nine consecutive possessions, and was outscored by the Bulldogs, 8-0. English ended the drought with a baseline jump shot, but that represented the only two points UH scored in the final 9:24 of the first half.

"We were fortunate to be down only (26-17)," McIntyre said. "If it was somebody else (like) Fresno State, we would've been down 30."

Hawai'i opened the second half with a 10-1 run that tied the score, 27-27.

"We're a good shooting ball club, but some nights it's not going to be there," Wallace said. "We tried to get started (in the second half) by going inside to some of our other guys and they responded."

In particular, 6-8 forward Martin scored 13 of his 15 points, and 6-10 center Haim Shimonovich scored all seven of his in the second half.

The score was tied at 38 before UH went on an 11-0 surge to take the lead for the rest of the game. English scored five points during the run, including a 3-pointer that forced Drake to call a timeout.

The Bulldogs never got closer than four points in the game's final six minutes. Luke McDonald led Drake (1-1) with 24 points.

McDonald and teammate Andry Sola were also named to the all-tournament team, along with Terrance Winston of Norfolk State and Donald Cole of Sam Houston State.

• • •

• • •

• Sam Houston State 90, Norfolk State 71: Donald Cole scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and teammate Jay Oliphant added 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bearkats (1-1) over the Spartans (0-2) for third place.

• • •

NOTES: Hawai'i was officially named as one of the participants for the 2003 Maui Invitational yesterday. The eight-team field will be comprised of Hawai'i, Chaminade, California, Dayton, Florida State, Ohio State, San Diego State and Villanova. It will be the 'Bows' first appearance in the prestigious tournament, which is hosted by Chaminade and televised on ESPN. ... The 'Bows are next scheduled to play Friday in Hawai'i-Hilo's Big Island Invitational. Hawai'i will play Mercer in a first-round game at 5 p.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Eight teams are participating in the three-day tournament.