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Tulsa breaks losing streak against Hawaii

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tulsa rebounded well, played stingy defense and got Kevin Johnson the ball. No surprise, then, that they beat a quality opponent.

Johnson scored 19 points and Tulsa held hot-shooting Hawaii to just 38 percent from the floor in a 76-51 victory Thursday night that snapped a five-game losing streak to the Rainbow Warriors.

Johnson shot 18 times _ a hefty number given that teams have routinely double-teamed him during a stretch when his scoring average has dipped to 14.8 points from more than 18 early in the season.

``Part of the responsibility to get the basketball is his,'' Tulsa coach John Phillips said. ``He's got to demand it. I think he did a lot better job tonight asking for the basketball and receiving it.''

Johnson also scored from beyond the 3-point-line, hitting 3-of-4. Tulsa was 9-for-20 from 3-point range, finding a lost accuracy that had allowed opponents to focus on guarding Johnson.

Usually undersized Tulsa (16-9, 9-6 Western Athletic Conference) grabbed 43 boards to Hawaii's 33, dominating inside after Hawaii center Haim Shimonovich left the game early with a sprained right ankle.

``They can play good defense and if they don't rebound, all that effort is wasted,'' Phillips said. ``I think they're catching on. Have we totally arrived? I don't think so, but we've still got a few games left before the WAC tournament.''

Hawaii (15-9, 7-8) came in to the game tied for the WAC lead in field goal shooting at 47 percent, but Tulsa held the Rainbow Warriors to 20-for-53. Carl English, the conference's leading scorer with a 20.4 average, was held to just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting.

``A lot of our guys were under the weather,'' Hawaii guard Mark Campbell said. ``But that's no excuse. They forced us into how we played.''

Tulsa used runs in both halfs to put Hawaii away. In the first half, two putbacks by Jarius Glenn keyed a 13-3 run that put the Golden Hurricane ahead 27-19 with 4:05 left. Tulsa led 31-21 at halftime.

Tulsa started the second half with a 10-2 spurt that made it 41-23. Johnson had seven points in the run and Parker added a 3. Tulsa didn't stop there as Swanson's layup after a steal made it 59-34 with 8:23 left.

``It seems like we've typically play a good 20 minutes, either the first or second half, and then we have moments in that other half where it doesn't look like we're very well coached,'' Phillips said. ``I'm proud to say I'm their coach tonight.''
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