November 29, 1998
HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Todd MacCulloch came up big again for the Washington Huskies.
The 7-foot, 280-pound center had 18 points and five rebounds as the No. 16 Huskies beat Saint Louis 69-60 on Saturday night in the semifinals of the Big Island Invitational.
"We got another solid performance from Todd," Huskies coach Bob Bender said. "It was just like we get from him almost all the time. ... He started the game well and was unstoppable. The thing you have to look at, where his greatest improvement is, is the lack of fouls and the minutes played."
MacCulloch helped the Huskies (3-0) advance to the championship game against Georgia Tech, a 58-53 winner over West Virginia.
With MacCulloch bulling his way in the paint for Washington's first eight points, the Huskies never trailed. The Billikens (2-3) managed to get within three in the first half, but an 8-2 run with Deon Luton getting a pair of 3-pointers, gave the Huskies a 33-25 halftime lead.
"We didn't do well enough at the start," Saint Louis coach Charlie Spoonhour said. "We were our own worst enemy early. They were very aggressive. We backed down a little bit and they ran through some screens."
Saint Louis made an early second-half charge with an 8-0 run, but Donald Watts scored six points, four of free throws, to give Washington a double-digit lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Luton had 13 points, Michael Johnson added 12, and Watts had 10.
"I think our depth was a big difference tonight," Bender said. "We had guys come off the bench and give us a big, big boost and good production."
The Huskies shot a tournament-record 63 percent from the floor (27-of-43), with MacCulloch hitting 8-of-13 and Luton 6-of-8. Washington forced 16 turnovers and had 11 steals.
Virgel Cobbin led Saint Louis with 14 points, and Chris Heinrich had 10 points and six rebounds.
By GORDON SAKAMOTO
Associated Press Writer