RENO - One would think after giving Nevada its toughest game of the season three days ago that San Jose State would be ready to make some noise at the WAC Tournament.
Hawai'i wasn't about to let that happen. The Rainbow Warriors shot 50 percent from the floor, and their size caused the Spartans some big problems in a 72-48 win in the opening round Tuesday night at Lawlor Events Center.
Hawai'i advances to the quarterfinals against UTEP Thursday at noon. UTEP beat Hawai'i 71-70 and 71-67 earlier this year. San Jose State finishes 6-23.
"Our game plan was for our big men to neutralize their quicker players, and to contain (Marquin) Chandler," Hawai'i coach Riley Wallace said. "(Chris ) Botez changed a lot of Chandler's shots. That enabled us to get out on their three-point shooters.
""We got an early lead and stayed with it. It was just an overall good effort. UTEP is a great team. We've got our work cut out. We have played them well. We will have to step it up."
San Jose State was a dismal 3 for 16 from beyond the arc, and Alex Elam who killed Nevada last weekend, failed to connect in five opportunities.
Wallace credited the 7-foot Botez with a nice defensive job on Chandler, who scored 15 points, almost five points under his season average of 19.8.
Botez said he found out Monday that he would go up against Chandler. Wallace felt Botez's length caused Chandler to alter some of his shots. Botez admitted he wasn't wild about the idea, which drew a laugh from the press corps.
San Jose shot just 28 percent in the first half, and that's the main reason why it trailed 31-18 at the half.
San Jose State cut the deficit to 36-27, but a 19-4 run gave the Rainbow Warriors a 55-31 lead with 6:16 left. Botez (10 points) had back-to-back tip-ins. Julian Sensley (13 points) also added four points.
"We got overwhelmed," said San Jose State coach Phil Johnson, who coached his final game after officially resigning on Monday. "We wanted to play from timeout to timeout and for a while it worked.
"Our inability to rebound (38-26 Hawai'i advantage) was our Achilles heel. I thought we would play better."