Huskies Cruise Past Hawaii Hilo in Big Island Tourney Opener
November 27, 1998
HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Washington Huskies needed a few minutes to get over concerns about a slippery floor. When they did, Hawaii-Hilo didn't have a chance.
"We were a little ragged at the start," Washington coach Bob Bender said after the Huskies' 81-47 victory over Hawaii-Hilo on Friday night in the first round game of the Big Island Invitational.
"We got here early and watched the game before ours and saw the slippery floor. Psychologically, we started to really get ourselves in a little bit of a negative frame of mind."
"Once we got through that, we were fine and we did some good things. One thing good was we got a lot of minutes for some kids that need more experience and we were also able to rest our guys for tomorrow."
Reserves Greg Clark and Chris Walcott keyed an 11-2 first-half run as the Huskies (2-0) quickly gained control.
Deon Lutton led Washington with 12 points, nine in the second half. Clark added 11 points and seven rebounds, and Michael Johnson and Grant Leep each had 10 points. Walcott finished with eight points.
"I think that balance is going to be our strength," Bender said. "I think when we get contributions from everybody, we'll become a little bit less predictable."
Ed Ellis led the Vulcans (0-2) with 17 points, but was only 4-for-20 from the field, including an 0-for-5 performance from 3-point range.
Hawaii-Hilo's Merrill Jenkins, who averaged 20.4 points last season, managed only one point before fouling out.
"We couldn't get him the ball," coach Jeff Law said. "He was off. He took himself out of the game. He's a lot better player than that.
"They're a big-time team, they're well-coached, they do everything well and all we wanted to do was just compete with them. At times we did. At times, we couldn't."
Washington advanced to a semifinal game against Saint Louis, an 85-55 winner over over Evansville.
In the other first-round games, Georgia Tech beat New Orleans 65-62 in overtime, and West Virginia edged Wisconsin-Green Bay 64-63.
By GORDON SAKAMOTO