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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 21, 2002

Rainbows, Privateers win

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team's one-game vacation in San Diego came to an official halt last night.

Hawai'i's Tony Akpan, left, and Eastern Illinois' David Ross battle for a rebound in the first half.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The Rainbow Warriors returned to form in a convincing 81-65 victory over Eastern Illinois in the feature game of the Adidas Festival.

A crowd of 4,110 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows improve to 3-1 with their 15th consecutive home victory. EIU dropped to 3-6.

Hawai'i will play New Orleans for the championship of the four-team tournament tonight around 8 p.m.

"This was a good win for us," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "(EIU) is a better team than they showed, but we also needed a game like this to forget about last week."

Last Saturday, the 'Bows were held to their lowest score in 91 games in a 60-49 loss at San Diego State. Last night, they almost matched that total by halftime.

"I took it personally, the last week," said UH center Haim Shimonovich.

Last night, he took it out on the Panthers. Shimonovich, a 6-foot-10 junior, scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds.

"We ran our offense better and we got Haim going in the game," Wallace said. "He came out aggressive and this is what happens."

He wasn't the only one. Three other UH players scored in double-figures: Carl English had 19, Mark Campbell 15 and Jason Carter 11.

The 'Bows also out-rebounded the Panthers, 45-28, and shot 17-of-32 from the free-throw line to EIU's 5-of-8.

Eastern Illinois' Craig Lewis tried to find an open teammate over the guard of Hawaii's Mark Campbell in last night's game.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Campbell and Shimonovich were both held scoreless last week at San Diego State.

"We were still a little upset at what happened last week," English said. "But we came back, this is our home, and we defend our court every time."

Indeed, the 'Bows relied on an aggressive man-to-man defense to seize control of the game early.

Led by forward Phil Martin, Hawai'i held the Panthers to 21 first-half points and a .333 field goal percentage (9-of-27). The 'Bows opened the game with a 7-0 run and never relented.

"The game was decided in the first five minutes when (Hawai'i) showed that they were going to grab every rebound," EIU head coach Rick Samuels said. "We weren't making our shots and they never gave us a second chance."

In particular, Martin limited EIU scoring machine Henry Domercant to four points in the decisive first half on 2-of-10 shooting.

"That was my whole focus, defense," said Martin, who also contributed six points and seven rebounds. "Their whole offense was find 44 (Domercant's number) and get him the ball."

As a result, the rest of the EIU offense also struggled. As Martin put it: "We shut (Domercant) down, and none of their other guys could match up with any of our guys."

As proof, the 'Bows raced to a 22-8 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game, and then increased it to as much as 38-13 with three minutes remaining in the first half.

Hawai'i took a 43-21 lead into halftime, fueled by its defense and a 24-11 rebounding advantage in the first half. Shimonovich had 10 points and seven rebounds.

"I know we can dominate a lot of boards if the guys go hard to the glass like they did (last night)," Wallace said.

Domercant scored 21 points in the second half when the Panthers played catch-up . He finished on 10-of-26 shooting from the field, including 2-of-7 from 3-point range.

"Henry can't take that many shots when he's not shooting the ball well," Samuels said. "We have to find other guys to score, and we didn't do that."

No other EIU player took more than eight shots, and Jesse Mackinson was the only other Panther in double-figures with 12.

The Panthers opened the second half with a 15-4 run to cut the Hawai'i lead to 47-36, but that was as close as it would get.

The 'Bows will be tested by another high-scoring player tonight in New Orleans' forward Hector Romero. He scored 38 in the Privateers victory over Cal Poly in last night's first game.

• New Orleans 89, Cal Poly-SLO 75: Senior Hector Romero scored a career-high 38 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, leading the Privateers (7-2) over the Mustangs (2-5).

Romero hit 12 of his 19 shots from the field and went 14-of-17 from the foul line for the Privateers.

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