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UH will host Portland in CIT

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LAS VEGAS » The end wasn’t really the end yesterday for the Hawaii men’s basketball team.

About the same time that San Jose State beat the Rainbow Warriors 75-74 in the opening round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, UH athletic director Jim Donovan finalized an agreement for UH to play in the 24-team CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

TICKETS FOR THE CIT

For season-ticket holders

» Lower level: $18

» Upper level adult: $12

» Upper level senior citizen: $10

» Students (ages 4 through high school): $4

For nonseason-ticket holders

» Lower level: $24

» Upper level adult: $16

» Upper level senior citizen: $14

» Students (UH and ages 4 through high school): $5

Season-ticket holders will receive an informational e-mail today from UH urging them to purchase tickets online at hawaiiathletics.com. No online fees will be assessed to season-ticket holders who commit to buy tickets to both the Tuesday and March 18 games.

Nonseason-ticket holders can buy tickets online beginning Saturday at noon.

Fans can also call 944-BOWS (2697).

The Rainbows (18-12) will host Portland (20-11) of the West Coast Conference in the first round of the CIT on Tuesday. A victory could mean another home game on March 18.

Donovan said UH will pay the $31,500 entry fee as the host team, plus a few thousand dollars extra for the Pilots’ travel expenses. However, he is optimistic ticket revenue will make up for it. Television for the game is pending.

That UH is playing — and hosting — its first postseason game since 2004 was made possible by the initiative of Donovan and former UH coach Riley Wallace, who is the chair of the CIT selection committee.

Donovan said hosting was important also because the UH players had been on the road and away from classes since the start of March.

"As soon as the (San Jose State) game was over, we signed the contract and sent it in," Donovan said. "Riley Wallace had been in communication with me for about a week. He has a strong affinity to Hawaii and UH basketball."

Wallace, the winningest coach in UH hoops history, recognized some of the traditional difficulties — specifically, road games — the Rainbows surmounted in coach Gib Arnold’s first year to become a winning team.

"I watched them over the season, and having gone through the league and everything, I know how tough it is to do some of the things Hawaii’s done this year," Wallace said.

The extra game was a relief to the UH players, who were crestfallen after the last-second loss to the Spartans.

"We didn’t work all year, waking up at 5 a.m. in preseason, to let it come down to (yesterday’s loss)," UH junior guard Zane Johnson said. "We don’t want to go out like that. We’re going to come out ready to play our next game."

Tickets go on sale for season-ticket holders today, then to the general public on Saturday.

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