Archive for January, 2012

They'll get over it

January 27th, 2012
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A spirited yet unfinished comeback attempt by Hawaii resulted in a narrow 77-72 defeat up in Logan, Utah, to still-dangerous-at-home WAC defending champs Utah State on Thursday.

As evidenced in Gib Arnold's postgame comments in our story by Jeff Hunter, UH (11-9, 3-3 WAC) won't be upset about never going back there again, at least for a conference game. (That's barring future conference shakeups, which we all know can and will happen.)

So that's one positive they can leave with. Another was the play of Vander Joaquim, who was a dominant force down low with 24 points (tying his career high) on 12-for-16 shooting to go with 14 rebounds. The noticeable exception were the two misses on front-end 1-and-1 free throws in the second half that could have narrowed the gap further.

You can bet that Zane Johnson will bounce back from his horrid shooting night (4-for-16, 1-for-9 on 3s) at Idaho on Saturday. Credit USU guard Preston "Meddlin' " Medlin for some of that; it was like watching the bizarro version of Matt Lojeski locking up Jaycee Carroll. Anyway, Zane is now one 3 behind Mike McIntyre for fourth on the UH career treys list at 158.

Joston Thomas recovered from a slow start to post a double-double and helped make it interesting down the stretch after the 'Bows trailed by 15 midway through the second half. Hauns Brereton gave the team a solid effort off the bench, even on 6-for-15 shooting.

It was interesting to see the team go without a point guard for a few minutes down the stretch. Miah Ostrowski still had a solid game (eight assists, two turnovers) but just two dimes came after halftime, and Shaquille Stokes and Bobby Miles didn't show much in the spot minutes they received.

So it's onward to Moscow, Idaho, and don't sleep on the Vandals. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for them, and they've figured out a way to get tied for second place in the WAC at 4-2. UH is only 2-7 against them in Moscow, so the 'Bows will have their work cut out to salvage this road trip.

A reminder: the UH-UI game will also be televised on OC Sports 12 with the folks at ESPN Regional TV calling the game.

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Kudos to Dana Takahara-Dias and the Hawaii women's basketball team, which won its third straight game on Thursday night. While none of those three opponents (including Louisiana Tech) are good this year, a 3-1 start is a 3-1 start. Been over 10 years since that happened.

They'll have their hands full on Saturday at the league's best team, Fresno State. But whatever happens there (especially if it's close) UH should return home feeling plenty good about itself.

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After the debate inspired from the last posting about the UH team nicknames (which shattered the Court Sense record for responses, so thanks for that all) one might have thought I'd come right back with more postings. But I've increasingly felt like taking more selective moments to blog — usually about once a week — is the way to go to avoid over-saturation, especially with two basketball bloggers on this website. If the demand says otherwise, however, I'm all for it.

Rainbows or Warriors

January 17th, 2012
By



Some nickname consistency would be nice, wouldn't it? This has long been a hot topic about UH sports, and it's been coming up more and more lately, it seems.

Do you — and should you — call the UH men's sports teams Warriors, Rainbow Warriors, or Rainbows? The UH men's basketball team finds itself at a sort of unique crossroad as far as this goes, being that it incorporates both names.

There's been an unspoken movement going to phase out the "Rainbow" from the team for the past couple of years, as evidenced by the team's road jerseys, coach Gib Arnold's word choice (except one recent home game when he said, "Good win for the Rainbows") and websites such as WarriorInsider.com.

At the same time, nothing has officially changed. Every UH basketball press release goes by "Rainbow Warriors."  Fans still chant "RAIN ... BOWS" with the cheerleaders at home games, then start up the "Let's Go Bows!" rallying cry.

In my relatively short time as a UH basketball writer (fourth year) I've referred to the team as the "Rainbow Warriors" on first reference in a story and then, generally speaking, either the "Rainbows" or " 'Bows" each time after that. I don't write the headlines for my stories (nor does any other writer for theirs), where just "Rainbows" often appears to refer to the hoops team. Generally, I'm OK with that.

On the other hand, many of the freelancers we employ on road games simply call the team the "Warriors," and we've gone with that, too, in their stories. Hard to blame the freelancers for the inconsistency with the "Warriors" jerseys staring them in the face.

For me personally, I'd be fine with calling them the Warriors, and only Warriors, IF there's an official shift in policy from UH. Until that happens, sorry to those of you in favor of dropping the Rainbow. It's there, so I'm obligated to use it.

Hopefully that clarifies a little bit where I stand on that. Feel free to post your thoughts on the matter.

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Miah Ostrowski (20 assists on the Fresno State-Nevada road trip) was held out of practice for the second straight day on Tuesday with a possible staph infection. Will have more on his status for Thursday vs. Louisiana Tech when more's known.

Important win

January 12th, 2012
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It seemed like the classic "Hawaii jumps out to big lead on the road, only to cough up the lead when it mattered" game.

This UH team had other ideas, coming up with a huge 74-68 win at Fresno State in overtime even after the Bulldogs came from behind to grab the lead with under 15 seconds left in regulation.

Vander Joaquim made good on a considerable height advantage, and more importantly made the offensive plays in the second half and OT to keep UH in it (23 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks). Also, Garrett Jefferson should be commended for his pesky defense in hounding the Bulldogs' top player Kevin Olekaibe into a 5-for-17 shooting night.

Then there was Miah Ostrowski, dishing a career-high 11 assists, and Zane Johnson hitting six 3s. He looked past whatever trouble his separated rib was giving him. All in all, it was a hugely positive night, even with Joston Thomas, Shaquille Stokes and Hauns Brereton being mostly nonfactors.

Can UH pull off the improbable and succeed at Nevada on Saturday for a 3-0 WAC start? History says no — the 'Bows have never won there, and the 3-0 Wolf Pack is as talented as ever — but there would be beauty in pulling it off in UH's last chance before it and UNR go their separate ways next season.

Tough cuts

January 6th, 2012
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It was incredibly difficult paring down the list of Hawaii's most memorable Western Athletic Conference games to 10.  Several BYU games got the spotlight, including the Ruffin and Whitlock buzzer beaters, and the 1994 WAC tournament championship. I wanted to highlight games from different eras of UH basketball. In some cases (the Carter-Smith Dynamic Duo years) the most memorable games happened outside of WAC play.

Among the tough cuts, there were a few upsets of an often-ranked New Mexico; showdowns with Chris Herren and Fresno State (including the 1998 NIT quarterfinals); a win over No. 6 Utah back in 1981; the 2002 WAC tournament championship over Tulsa; and last year's Miah Game against Utah State. Much of this is subjective, of course, and everyone had their own games that may have stood out more than others.

I'd like to thank Jason Kaneshiro, Dave Reardon, Curtis Murayama, Ferd Lewis, Stephen Tsai, and Cindy Luis for their recommendations and advice when it came to this list. All have been around UH basketball at one time or another.

What were some of your WAC favorites?

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On a positive note for the current 'Bows, senior guard Zane Johnson looked near full strength in practice yesterday, and should be good to go for Saturday's WAC opener against San Jose State.

And for what it's worth, he was seen at the same place at the same time (Manoa Lower Campus) as Colt Brennan on Thursday. So no, Colt is not extending his UH career as a look-alike hoops sharpshooter — that myth can be debunked once and for all.