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Hawaii Topples Utah State

NIT ROUNDUP

March 18, 2004|From Associated Press

Michael Kuebler and Hawaii were not intimidated by facing the only ranked team in the National Invitation Tournament.

Kuebler scored 28 points at Logan, Utah, to lead Hawaii (20-11) to an 85-74 victory over No. 25 Utah State (25-4) in a first-round game Wednesday night.

"It was the last game of the year if you lose," said Kuebler, who was only one point shy of his career high. "We came into the game tonight thinking that they were the No. 1-seeded team in the tournament."

The Warriors, who had lost three in a row and seven of 10, scored their first-ever road victory over a ranked opponent. In the second round, they will play the winner of Friday's Nebraska-Niagara game.

Hawaii shot 62% and had four players score in double figures, including Jeff Blackett's 18 points.

Utah State could not muster the defensive energy to shut down the Hawaii offense, and found little spark in its offense.

Utah State Coach Stew Morrill, whose team was undefeated at home during the regular season, said the Aggies couldn't find a way to shut down Kuebler or Blackett.

"[Kuebler] was amazing tonight and is a heck of a player," Morrill said. "I can see how he averaged 18 points in [the Western Athletic Conference]. He shot over us, around us, went by us -- we didn't have anyone that could do much with him."

Kuebler was four of six from three-point range.

In other NIT games:

Chris Quinn scored 21 points at South Bend, Ind., as Notre Dame (18-12) rolled to a 71-59 victory over Purdue (17-14), in the first game between the teams in 38 years. The campuses are separated by only 100 miles. The Fighting Irish will play at Saint Louis (19-12) next week.

At Boise, Idaho, Bryan Defares had 12 points and a school-record 13 assists to lead Boise State (22-9) to an 84-69 victory over Nevada Las Vegas (18-13).... At Ames, Iowa, Jackson Vroman scored 23 points and Iowa State (18-12) shot a school-record 74.4% and held on for an 82-74 victory over Georgia (16-14).... At Norman, Okla., Brandon Foust and Drew Lavender combined for 34 points as Oklahoma (20-10) rolled to a 70-61 victory over Louisiana State (18-11).

At Wichita, Kan., Tim Pickett scored 25 points to lead Florida State (19-13) to a 91-84 double-overtime victory over Wichita State (21-11).... At Fairfax, Va., George Mason (22-9) won its first postseason game in 18 years with a 58-55 victory over Tennessee (15-14).... At South Kingstown, R.I., Rhode Island (20-13) was never threatened in an 80-52 victory over Boston University (20-6).... At Kent, Ohio, Tyrone Sally scored 17 points to lead West Virginia (16-13) to a 65-54 victory over Kent State (22-9).

At Milwaukee, Dylan Page scored 22 points to lead Wisconsin Milwaukee (20-10) to a 91-63 drubbing of Rice (22-11).... At Villanova, Pa., Randy Foye and Allan Ray each scored 20 points as Villanova (17-16) cruised to an 85-70 victory over Drexel (18-11).... At Piscataway, N.J., Quincy Douby scored a career-high 28 points to lead Rutgers (17-12) to a 76-71 victory over Temple (15-14).

At Charlottesville, Va., Todd Billet made five of Virginia's 13 three-point baskets as the Cavaliers (18-12) cruised to a 79-66 victory over George Washington (18-12)....At Amherst, N.Y., Tremmell Darden had 26 points to help Niagara (22-9) rally for an 87-83 victory over Troy State (24-7).... At Clarksville, Tenn., Austin Peay (22-9) had an 11-0 run over a two-minute stretch late in the second half, then weathered a rally by Belmont (21-9) and held on for a 65-59 victory.

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