By Brian McInnis
A mental block. That's gotta be it, right? How else to explain Hawaii's ongoing futility against Cal Poly, a team with inferior resources, facilities — and a case could be made — talent?
UH's 77-65 loss in San Luis Obispo on Thursday made it five straight since 2010 that the Mustangs have taken over the 'Bows (albeit one that probably should have gone to UH, a controversial one-point loss in the BracketBusters return game in November of 2010).
What's your take on UH's ongoing struggles against Cal Poly? It makes for an interesting discussion, at the very least. I spoke to the Cal Poly beat writer, Joshua D. Scroggin, on Friday and media on the Poly side of things are just as puzzled at the one-sided nature of the series.
The 'Bows have almost exactly a month to come up with a better game plan for when the Mustangs play at the Stan Sheriff Center on Feb. 8.
The Mustangs had lost four straight but came out on fire in the latest edition, knocking down their first four 3-pointers and six of their first nine from deep. Meanwhile, UH went most of the game unable to buy a trey (4-for-19).
That will have to change if UH has any designs on a split of this road trip by winning at Cal State Northridge (9-7, 1-0) on Saturday. The Matadors, under new coach Reggie Theus, play closer to UH's ideal pace. CSUN has a trio of talented scorers in Stephan Hicks, Stephen Maxwell and Josh Greene. Greene burned UH for 37 in the Matadors' season finale last year, in a game they had little to play for as they were out of contention for the Big West tournament.
UH can't afford another scoreless game from point guard Keith Shamburger, who is likely still not 100 percent while playing through a hip flexor. If that means more minutes for Quincy Smith (seven points, seven assists at Poly), it might not be a terrible thing in the short term.
It was the first time in 78 career college games that Shamburger went scoreless (0-3 FG, 0-1 FT), including 63 contests at San Jose State.
Look for more on Theus, the former New Mexico State and Sacramento Kings coach, in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.