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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 8, 2003

Rainbow basketball team remains work in progress

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's Michael Kuebler drives on EA Sports All-Star Johnny Parker. Kuebler scored 15 points, but shot 6 of 15 as UH continued to struggle against zone defenses.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team put everything on exhibit in a 69-67 exhibition victory over the EA Sports All-Stars yesterday.

Every Rainbow Warrior in uniform saw action, and the result was a display of flows and flaws.

An afternoon crowd of 1,914 watched the exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center. The result and statistics will not count toward the season standings for the 'Bows.

"It's always good to get a win," said UH senior center and co-captain Haim Shimonovich. "But there's still a lot of things to improve."

Shimonovich recorded a statistical double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and led UH to a 40-30 advantage in rebounding.

Michael Kuebler led the 'Bows with 15 points, and Jake Sottos took advantage of the open auditions off the bench with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting.

But the final result was not supposed to be so close.

The EA Sports All-Stars are former college players who travel around the country to play exhibition games. However, they had not played — or practiced, really — since Nov. 18.

Former UH point guard Mark Campbell joined the team on Friday and said: "We put in one play, a pick-and-roll. The rest was like playing open gym."

The simple approach was effective against the 'Bows' defense, much to UH head coach Riley Wallace's chagrin.

"Defense is what's killing us," Wallace said. "We have to somehow toughen it up."

Mike McIntyre, another former UH player, drained three 3-pointers for EA Sports and was one of five players in double-figure points.

"They seem like a feisty crew," McIntyre said of the 'Bows. "They run the offense pretty well, but I think they probably need to work on defense a little more."

The game was tied at 37 at intermission, then Kuebler scored eight during a 14-2 Hawai'i surge to open the second half. The 'Bows led by as many as 14 before EA Sports tied it at 59 with 4:51 remaining.

UH's Jake Sottos slips past the defense of Johnny Parker.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

Wallace said he asked the EA Sports coaches before the game to play various defenses. In what has become a disturbing early-season trend, UH struggled against a zone defense, and that helped EA Sports tie the score.

"I guess we have to move the ball better and find the open man, and that guy has to make the shot," Shimonovich said.

Sottos did his share, knocking down a 3-pointer that gave UH the lead for good at 62-59.

"Coach said he was going to get everyone in, so this was my opportunity to get Coach to show some trust in me," he said.

EA Sports had possession of the ball in the closing seconds, but UH's Jason Carter stole an errant pass to clinch the victory.

Sottos, Jeff Blackett and Logan Lee put up solid statistics off the bench, but Wallace said no positions were secured yesterday.

"I still need to narrow it down to about eight guys," Wallace said. "It's not a real team yet."

The 2-2 'Bows have another week to get ready. The next regular season game is scheduled for Dec. 15 against Oregon State.

As Campbell put it: "They're going to be a tough team once they figure it all out."

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8101.

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