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Rice 70, Hawaii 68

3/11/2004

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Michael Harris scored a career-high 29
points to help Rice hang on to edge Hawaii 70-68 on Thursday in the
quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.

Hawaii (19-11) had a chance to send the game into overtime, but
Phil Martin's put-back of Logan Lee's intentional missed free throw
with 3.4 seconds left rolled off the rim as time expired.

Fourth-seeded Rice (22-9) advanced to Friday's semifinals
against Nevada, the tournament's top seed.

Harris made 13 of 20 field goals despite missing a dunk and two
layups. Jason McKrieth added 19 points, joining Harris as the only
Rice players in double figures.

Michael Kuebler led Hawaii with 15 points and Julian Sensley
added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Rice shot 56.4 percent from the field, including 66.7 percent in
the second half while overcoming a 39-35 halftime deficit.

After Hawaii's Jeff Blackett made a free throw to tie the game
at 61 with 5:19 left, McKreith hit a pull-up jumper and J.R. Harris
added consecutive baskets to give the Owls a six-point lead.

Blackett scored seven straight points for Hawaii down the
stretch, including a short jumper with 18 seconds left to pull the
Rainbow Warriors to 70-67.

Blackett finished with 13 points.

Rice's Rashid Smith missed a free throw with 12 seconds left.
Sensley grabbed the rebound and passed to Lee, who was fouled by
Smith at the top of the key before he could attempt a shot.

Lee made the first free throw to make the score 70-68 and
intentionally missed the second. The ball caromed right to Martin,
who couldn't convert the open 2-footer.