Arnold, Hawaii Have Some Fun at Titans’ Expense in 79-76 Win

Times Staff Writer

Frank Arnold, former assistant to John Wooden and the head coach at BYU for eight years, quit coaching two years ago because he “failed to enjoy life.”

“I was so involved and intent on success that I forgot to enjoy my family and friends,” he said.

A more-relaxed Arnold is back (he even yielded to pressure and wore an Aloha shirt instead of the traditional coat and tie), and Friday night the new University of Hawaii coach got a pleasant reminder why he couldn’t stay away: Winning is so much fun.


Hawaii’s shorter-but-quicker front line dominated Cal State Fullerton in the second half as the Rainbows rallied for a 79-76 win in front of 4,400 at the Blaisdell Arena. It was the season opener for both teams.

Kerry Boagni, Fullerton’s 6-foot 8-inch senior forward who earned his starting spot with his jump shot last season, had a hot hand early, but he made only 4 of 14 second-half shots. He finished with 22 points.

Point guard Kevin Henderson scored 21 points, but he fouled out with 1:34 to play, putting a damper on the Titans’ comeback hopes.

Carl Pitts, whose play underneath is expected to be pivotal in the Titans’ season, had seven rebounds before fouling out with six minutes remaining, but his play wasn’t enough to offset Rainbow forwards A.J. Jones and Andre Morgan--who combined for 18 rebounds. Morgan also scored 35 points.

The Rainbows also used a swarming defense and a fast-break offense to overcome a nine-point second-half deficit.

The overall level of performance was about what might be expected from a couple of teams that have been waiting a long time for a chance to play one for keeps.


The first half was filled with sloppy passing and ballhandling, ill-advised fouls and missed opportunities by both teams.

The most spectacular play of the first half--and the one that drew the biggest crowd response--wasn’t even accomplished on the court. Fullerton’s Alexander Hamilton, chasing a loose ball, hurdled the scorer’s table and managed to continue up an aisle into the stands without losing stride.

The game remained close in the early going, but Fullerton Coach George McQuarn had to be encouraged by at least some of what he saw. Boagni, whose outside shooting is a key to the Titans’ offense, hit 5 of his first 7 shots and Pitts, the 6-7 transfer from Trade Tech who wound up at Fullerton when he couldn’t meet UCLA’s admission requirements, came off the bench to grab six first-half rebounds when starter Tee Williamson picked up three fouls in less than three minutes.

The Rainbows opened in a full-court press and caused Fullerton some problems. But when the Titans solved it, they started to get some easy baskets and began to pull away slowly.

Boagni, who had 14 points in the first half, hit a 19-foot jumper with 3:21 left in the half to put the Titans ahead, 39-30, but Hawaii cut the margin to 43-36 at the half.

The Titans also had more success at the free-throw line than did Hawaii. They made 11 of 13 in the first half while the Rainbows managed just 8 of 15.


Hawaii’s offense was basically a two-man show, as billed. Jones and Morgan, both 6-4, play a lot taller. They carried the Rainbows in the first half. Morgan had 12 points and 6 rebounds and Jones had 9 points.

Titan Notes Fullerton will travel to the other side of Oahu tonight to meet BYU-Hawaii, an NAIA institution that was 17-10 last season. The Seasiders have three starters back from that squad, most notably 6-4 forward Rick Barker, a Kennedy High graduate who averaged 18 points a game last year, and 6-4 forward Wil Bello, the team’s top rebounder. Despite its lack of size at forward, BYU-Hawaii could give the Titans a real battle on the boards. John White, a 6-10 junior transfer from the University of Utah, is “a good inside player with excellent moves around the basket,” according to Coach Ted Chidester. . . . The BYU-Hawaii campus, a tranquil, lush setting just a few miles down the beach from world-famous surf spots Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline, won’t be the only thing drawing the Titans’ envy when they see it tonight. The Seasiders also have a new arena--the 4,500-seat Cannon Activities Center--that would rate as one of the top five in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.--and way ahead of Titan Gym. . . . Pitts, the 25-year-old who was supposed to provide some muscle underneath for Fullerton this season, made his presence felt before the season started. Friday during practice, Pitts collided with Herman Webster, a 6-6 1/2 junior transfer from San Diego Mesa College, and Webster ended up with eight stitches in his lip.