Tulsa 66, Hawaii 56
Saturday, March 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Tulsa is one victory away from salvaging the NCAA tournament goals that appeared dashed by a midseason slump.
Kevin Johnson scored 20 points as Tulsa overcame 33 points from Carl English to beat Hawaii 66-56 Friday night in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Tulsa (21-9) will play Nevada for the title Saturday night as each team pursues the conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid that likely represents their only chance at the tournament.
``We have not played our best basketball yet,'' Tulsa coach John Phillips said. ``We have not reached our objective. Our objective is to get to the NCAA tournament and proceed.''
Johnson had four points on two free throws and a dunk in an 11-3 spurt that made it 61-48 with 1:13 left after Hawaii (18-11) had pulled within five.
``It was just too much Johnson for us tonight,'' said Hawaii coach Riley Wallace. ``He scored 15 in the second half when they needed it the most. He was just too much for us to handle.''
English, the WAC's leading scorer, hit 6-of-10 from 3-point range, including three in the final two minutes as Hawaii tried to claw back. The Rainbow Warriors fell to 3-10 on the road this season.
Dante Swanson added 12 points for Tulsa, which benefited from an easy quarterfinal victory over Texas El-Paso that allowed players to rest. Conversely, Hawaii needed overtime to defeat Rice Thursday.
The Golden Hurricane have won 10 of their last 12 games, reversing fortunes that waned with three consecutive losses a month and a half ago and dropping out of the Top 25 in January.
Mavericks 116, Warriors 114
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Former Oklahoma standout Eduardo Najera hit a short jumper with three seconds remaining as the Dallas Mavericks prevailed in a frantic fourth quarter to beat the Golden State Warriors 116-114 Friday night.
Michael Finley scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half as the Mavericks snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Golden State for the 16th consecutive time. Steve Nash added 17 points and 12 assists.
Shawn Bradley fouled out with three minutes to play after scoring 16 points with 11 rebounds. The Mavericks have won 28 straight over the last three seasons when he records a double-double.
Gilbert Arenas scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half but missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. Antawn Jamison added 20 points for the Warriors, whose five-game home winning streak was snapped.
Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, left the game late in the first half with a sprained left ankle. He came down on Jason Richardson's right foot after a missed 3-pointer and had to be helped off the court.
Nowitzki averaged 29.4 points in two earlier wins over the Warriors.