Rainbows beat Hurrican, 90-82
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
TULSA, Okla. If you didn't believe in the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team before, you can start now.
These guys are for real.
The Rainbow Warriors proved that tonight with an improbable 90-82 victory over Tulsa in a game that determined first place for the first half of the Western Athletic Conference season. A sellout crowd of 8,355 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center was raucous even before tip-off, but went home in hushed tones as the 'Bows stopped Tulsa's five-game winning streak.
As has been the case all season, several Hawai'i players took turns in the spotlight. Senior guard Mike McIntyre put on a shooting clinic with 22 points and six 3-pointers to lead five 'Bows in double-figures. Predrag Savovic added 20, Phil Martin 16, Mindaugas Burneika 13 and Carl English 10.
Only two other 'Bows saw action Haim Shimonovich and Mark Campbell and their contributions were equally important. Shimonovich finished with six points, eight rebounds and six assists; Campbell played all 40 minutes and chipped in three points and seven assists.
"It's time to stop doubting us," UH sophomore guard Carl English said. "We're 17-3. You don't get to be 17-3 without being a pretty good team."
At the halfway point of the WAC season, Hawai'i has been better than pretty good. The 'Bows are having their best season in 30 years at 17-3 overall and 8-1 in the conference.
"This team is special," UH head coach Riley Wallace said for about the 1,000th time this season.
But for perhaps the first time in his 15 seasons as UH head coach, he added: "You can say they're really special because they're winning on the road. That's been our bugaboo for years in Hawai'i."
With today's victory, UH is now 4-1 on the WAC road this season. In the previous three regular seasons, the 'Bows were 2-22 on the WAC road.
Tonight's victory was especially impressive when considering that the Golden Hurricane was 43-6 in the Reynolds Center since it opened in 1998. Now, Hawai'i is one of only two visiting teams to own two victories there (Fresno State is the other).
UH's other Reynolds Center win came in last season's WAC Tournament championship game. In the days leading up to last night's contest, some of the media in Tulsa hyped it as a "revenge game."
Instead, the 'Bows staged a rally of their own, erasing a 13-point first-half deficit to drop the Hurricane to 15-4 overall and 6-2 in the WAC.