Nov. 24, 2002 The opponents were different but the results were the same, as both the Brigham Young University Cougars and the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies won their individual games on Saturday night at the 2002 University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam in the Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas.
Cougars (2-0) won the catfight and remained perfect in the young season with a 73-64 victory over the Kansas State University Wildcats (0-1) on Saturday night.
The Wildcats, who arrived in the capital of the U. S. Virgin Islands on Thursday afternoon, seem eager to get their season started. They were on the court doing drills two hours prior to the game. "We just wanted some extra time to do some extra shooting," K-State coach Jim Woolridge said. "We want to be better than we were a year ago; we want to continuously improve. If possible we want to over achieve," he said.
The Wildcats scouted the Cougars at the Friday night game and found ways to match the Cougars' intensity. The Wildcats fought back three times from five point or more deficits, once in the first half and twice in the second.
The Cougars used a full-court press that stifled the Toledo Rockets on Friday. However, the Wildcats utilized their size advantage in the paint to outscore the Cougars 30-16.
The Wildcats won the jump ball to begin the game but did not score for the first 2:30. The Cougars built their first half lead to six points until the Wildcats found their shooting touch. Tim Ellis led the Wildcats with five of his nine first-half points in the final five minutes to tie the game at 29. The Wildcats jumped out to a five-point halftime lead, 36-31, thanks to two three-pointers in the final minutes of the half.
The Cougars hit their first seven shots of the second half to take a 47-40 led. The Wildcats fought back and tied the game, 52-52, on Marques Hayden's three-point play with 9:42 left in the game.
The game got very physical at this point. The Cougars' Travis Hansen picked up two quick technical fouls with 8:48 left in regulation and the score 54-53. Hansen got a little too physical with the Wildcats' Hayden. The referees called a foul on Hansen, who then reacted with a fist into the padding underneath the basket. Those actions caused him the first technical foul. He quickly got the second technical foul when he said something the referee heard and was ejected.
The ejection seemed to motivate the Cougars, who regained the lead, 61-57, with 6:13 left in the game.
The Cougars' Rafael Araujo then fouled out with 5:36 remaining. The Wildcats were able to knot the game at 61 with 4:43 and once more at 63, 19 seconds later.
The Cougars once again came back as they kept the Wildcats from making a field goal. The Wildcats were able to just get one free throw for the rest of the game.
"A multitude of players stepped up, and I am very proud of our effort," Cougars head coach Steve Cleveland said. He would only say that Hansen got what he deserved for his unsportsmanlike reaction.
Woolridge said, "We missed too many field goals, and we had our opportunities but just could not cash them in. We had no answer for Hansen and a couple of our seniors did not perform."
Hayden led the Wildcats with 20 points. Tim Ellis added 14 points and Frank Richards had 13 points.
Travis Hansen scored 19 to lead the Cougars. Mark Bigalow added 18 points and Jared Jensen had 10 points.
In the second game of the evening, Mike Gansey scored 20 of his game high 27 points in the first half to set a tournament record as the Bonnies beat the Michigan University Wolverines, 89-68.
The Bonnies (2-0) took control of the game early with a dominating performance in the first half. They overwhelmed the Wolverines (0-1) in two statistical categories, in points of turnovers, 24-5, and points in the paint, 20-6, in the first half.
Gansey was perfect from behind the three-point arc hitting all of his five attempts. The Bonnies missed only one free throw for the entire game as they shot 17 for 18, 94 percent. The Wolverines shot 24 for 33, 73 percent.
Three tournament records were set in this game. The most points in a half, 54; the previous record was 47 by Miami in 2001. Another record was the most total points in the half by both teams, 88; the previous record by Miami and Eastern Michigan was 75 in 2001. The final record broken was Gansey's 20 points in a half, breaking Clemson's Jamar McKnight's of 17 in 2001.
"We expected to be here going for the tournament championship," Bonnies freshman point guard Ahmad Smith said. "We saw a little of the BYU game and we know that they are a good team, but we are going to play a good game. We worked on our defense all pre-season," he said. Smith had 16 points and Marques Green had 15 points for the Bonnies.
LaVell Blanchard scored 21 points to lead the Wolverines. Bernard Robinson and Lester Abram each had 11 points.
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