It's all good in Tulsa's 'World'
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
TULSA, Okla. First place in the Western Athletic Conference and the never-ending search for national respect will be at stake for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team tonight.
You would think that would be motivation enough when the Rainbow Warriors play at Tulsa.
If not, the Golden Hurricane added some fuel to Hawai'i's competitive fire yesterday.
In a column that appeared on the cover of the sports section of yesterday's Tulsa World the largest daily newspaper in Tulsa several Golden Hurricane players talked about "running the table" with victories for the rest of the regular season.
Tulsa is 15-3 and on a five-game winning streak with 11 WAC games remaining. If they are to go undefeated the rest of the way, the Golden Hurricane would have to beat Hawai'i twice.
"There is no reason why we can't win out," Tulsa guard Antonio Reed was quoted as saying. "We have a great team and we play good team defense. So I think we have a great opportunity to win out."
What's more, the column jokingly used the analogy that since Hawai'i lost at San Jose State by four (57-53), and Tulsa beat San Jose State by 24 (78-54), the Golden Hurricane should win tonight's game by 28.
"Any team in our conference can be beat on any night," UH sophomore Carl English said. "So for them to say stuff like that is pretty bold. They're going to have to back it up now."
Sold out: The final remaining tickets for tonight's game were sold by 9 a.m. yesterday morning. The Donald W. Reynolds Center, which was completed in 1998, has a seating capacity of 8,355.
It is only the second sellout for a Tulsa home game this season, with the other coming on Nov. 28 against Arkansas.
English is prepared for the verbal abuse expected from the "Reynolds Rowdies."
"I can use that to my advantage," he said. "You got 8,000 people hating you and wanting to miss everything, so you want to prove them wrong. If they're dogging me, I can feed off that."
More pub: The 'Bows were thrilled yesterday to see a short feature article on them appear in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated.
The article focused on the unique blend of foreign players on the team, and came with a color photograph of eight UH players holding different flags from their respective countries.
"That's pretty cool," said forward Phil Martin, one of the team's two Canadians.
Aloha from Houston: UH head coach Riley Wallace said he will wear a new aloha shirt for today's game.
He bought two new Tommy Bahama silk shirts in Houston on Wednesday for $105 each. He wore one in the victory over Rice on Thursday and contemplated wearing it again today.
"I figured if I paid $105, I better wear both of them," he said.