Nov 25, 2003
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) - Michael Kuebler scored 15 points, and Hawaii overcame a horrible start to beat Santa Clara 56-43 Monday night in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
The win by the Rainbow Warriors (1-1) sets up an all-Hawaii semifinal on Tuesday. They will play Chaminade, which beat Villanova 52-49 in the first round. Santa Clara will play Villanova at 1 p.m. (Pacific). The game will air live on KSFB-AM (1220) in the Bay Area.
Kuebler, the team's leading returning scorer at 12.2 points per game, made up for an off night in Hawaii's opener when he scored five points on 2-for-9 shooting. He was 6-for-9 from the field against Santa Clara (0-1), including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
Kyle Bailey had 11 points to lead the Broncos, who scored the game's first 12 points only to fall behind 21-18 at halftime.
"I thought we played really well for about the first four or five minutes of the game," said SCU Head Coach Dick Davey. "We've thought all along that this is a team that really will get better as the season progresses. We didn't show alot of positives tonight. I thought we came out fired-up and aggressive but we couldn't sustain the things we were doing well. Hawai'i has a talented team and they are well coached so I really give them a lot of credit for the win.
"We are going to have to get some rest tonight and get ready to play. Villanova has a strong squad, regardless of their result today against Chaminade. They are going to be ready to play so we are going to have to make the best of a short night and get ourselves in the right frame of mind to have a chance to win."
Hawaii shot 54.5 percent from the field (12-for-22) in the second half and led by as much as 56-40 when Kuebler hit his last 3 of the game with 1:29 to play.
Julian Sensley had 12 points for Hawaii, while Haim Shimonovich had nine points and 11 rebounds.
"Santa Clara looked like it was their first game of the year," said Hawai'i Head Coach Riley Wallace. "This was really our third game and you could tell there was a difference. I thought that because we had a couple of game behind us, we were a little better down the stretch. Santa Clara is well coached and you can tell they will be a much better team in a week or two than they were tonight. They are going to get a lot better."
Jim Howell added 10 points for Santa Clara, which shot 32 percent for the game (17-for-53), including 4-for-19 from 3-point range, and was 5-for-14 from the free-throw line.
Bailey hit a 3-pointer with 11:49 to play that brought Santa Clara within 37-35. The Rainbow Warriors then went on a 10-0 run started by 3-pointers by Sensley and Logan Lee and the Broncos were never closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Santa Clara's starters accounted for all but three of the team's points as the seven reserves went a combined 1-for-14 from the field.