Mens Basketball: Hawaii steams Rice, 91-77

Five senior's bid aloha to the home fans with a 91-77 thumping of the Rice Owls to move into a three way tie for second place in the WAC.

HONOLULU - The Hawai'i men's basketball team used a balanced attack in its 91-77 victory over Rice, Sunday afternoon, at the Stan Sheriff Center. Seniors Phil Martin, Haim Shimonovich, Michael Kuebler, Jason Carter, and Paul Jesinskis played their final regular season home game and all contributed to the victory in front of a season-high crowd of 9,214.

The Rainbow Warriors (19-8, 11-5) moved into a second place tie with the Owls and Nevada. The UH victory also gave first place UTEP a share of the WAC regular season title.

Sophomore Julian Sensley netted a career-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting but it was reserves Carter and Jesinskis who stole the show. Carter, a 5-foot-10 guard from Gary, Ind., matched his season-high of 14 points, including 11 during an electrifying first half. Jesinskis scored a career-high 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting and had five rebounds in relief of Shimonovich.

Kuebler scored 13 points but more importantly moved into fifth place all-time in the school's 3-point list with 124. Shimonovich grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, the 19th time in his career in which he posted double-figures. Martin made his 97th consecutive start and broke the school record with his 121st game played in a Rainbow Warrior uniform.

The fast-paced first half was spurred by the play of Carter. The reserve guard scored 11 first half points and dished out two assists as the 'Bows and Owls traded points for much of the half. UH took a 36-27 lead after consecutive buckets by reserve forward Jeff Blackett with under five minutes to play. Kuebler's second trey followed by Carter's baseline lay-up put UH on top, 47-33.

For the half, the 'Bows shot 56.7 percent from the field and built a 49-35 advantage.

The Owls cut the deficit to 10, midway through the second half, after consecutive buckets by Morris Almond. But UH pushed the lead back to 17 with a 9-2 run. The Owls would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Forward Michael Harris led the Owls (20-8, 11-5) with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Martin will finish his four-year career as the winningest player in school history. He is one of only 11 players to score 1,000 career points and ranks among the school leaders in rebounding, steals, and field goal percentage. Shimonovich was a three-year starter who is one of only three players in school history to record 500 points, 500 rebounds, and 100 blocked shots.

Kuebler joined the team as a walk-on last year but will finish his career as one of the best shooters in school history. In his two-year career, Carter energized the team off the bench for his electrifiying play on defense and with his 41-inch leaping ability. After sitting out a season due to a hand injury, Jesinskis proved to be a valuable back-up this season.

The 'Bows conclude their regular season on the road against Nevada, March 4 and Fresno State, March 6. Tip-off for both games is 7:00 p.m. PST.

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