Archive for January, 2011

A Night To Remember

By
January 31st, 2011



What can anyone say about Saturday 's game against Utah State that could capture in words the drama of what is clearly the best home basketball game in three years.

 Yes, we lost in double overtime. Yes, we had a chance to win in regulation and in the first overtime, but took  ill-advised last possession shots. Yes, this is not the best Utah State team I have seen recently. They are not athletic and will fall to many teams outside the conference.

But, this is a Utah State team that has steamrolled over every team in the WAC, except one. UH. It is a team that is ranked just outside the top 20 and has the best player in the WAC. And frankly, they were outplayed by UH here and almost beaten by UH in Logan.

It was  a classic college basketball game. Both teams played well and matched basket for basket until the end. And if not for a questionable intentional foul call on the Bows to start the second overtime, which led to 4 Aggie  points before Hawaii's first offensive possession, the final outcome may well have been different.

Zane Johnson, who sat out much of the3 first half after taking an elbow to his forehead, was unbelievable. How many times did he make a critical outside shot with an Aggie hand in his face? And what you can say about the performance of Miah?  We may have seen the changing of the guard ( no pun intended) as he played almost the entire second half and both overtimes while Hiram sat on the bench. Miah brought such excitement to the floor with his aggressive defense and coast to coast slashes to the basket, and what a chicken skin moment for the ages it would have been if his last second shot to win the game had gone in.

But now its time for reality to sink back in. With La Tech's two wins over the weekend and San Jose's win over a collapsing Fresno State team, Hawaii is only one game out of last and now has to go on the road to Idaho and Boise, both of whom crushed UH at home. But that was several weeks ago, and the BOWS appear to have righted themselves and are playing the best basketball of the season. They will need at least one win this week.

It wont be easy, but dont bet against it

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Yesterday in the WAC

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January 28th, 2011



While the Bows " rested", the rest of the League caught up by playing their 8th league game. Utah State beat San Jose by 19 on the road to continue their unblemished record in the WAC. Its their 22nd straight league win. Interestingly, they won this game with Tai Wesley having just an average game with only 9 points and 6 rebounds. The Bows, like the rest of the league, will have their hands full beating the Aggies.

Surprisingly, La Tech won its first league game by beating Idaho by 15. The loss Idaho had to Boise at home must be wearing on the Vandals. Boise lost in overtime to New Mexico State in Las Cruces, while Nevada kept Fresno on its WAC losing streak , winning by three at home.

So as we enter the second half of the league season, we have Utah State all alone at the top and a bunch of teams at 5-3 ( Nevada, Idaho,  Boise, and New Mexico State). They are followed by UH and Fresno, with San Jose and La Tech fighting for the final playoff spot.

It will be very interesting to see how much the events of the past week will affect the Bows. The death of Miah's father and the fact that he has apparently chosen to play could be a big factor in the emotional level of both the team and the crowd. It will take, however, almost a perfect game on the floor to beat the Aggies. Can it be done. Sure. The Bows gave them all they could handle in Logan to start the WAC season. And they didn't have Amis.

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The Game of Life

By
January 27th, 2011



Its sometimes takes a sad moment like the death of  a player's father to hopefully remind us, the sports fan, what's really important. Too much time is spent by many of us hoping our favorite team will win " the big one", or that our favorite player will dominate his opponent.

Yes sports is a release from the stress of daily life. Yes it gives us joy and sometimes depression. Yes, its an opportunity to bond with others over the wins and losses of our favorite teams. But it is just a game, and win or lose, life goes on and the sun rises the next day.

The untimely death of Miah Ostrowski's  father will hopefully bring into focus once again what's really important in the game of life. If there is anything positive to come out of this tragedy, its that Miah's father got to see him on the court last week becoming an integral part of the Bows.  What pride he must have felt, and what joy must have been experienced by the entire family.

I don't know Miah. We have never had the opportunity to say hello. But i share just a little in his grief. I lost my father way too soon. I was 32 when he died from Cancer. Almost  32 years later, I still wish he could have shared in my successes and helped me thru my failures.

Miah showed up at practice yesterday and says he will play Saturday, That's what his father would have wanted. But remember if Maih turns the ball over, or misses a shot, that its just a game. In the real game of life, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that Miah's dad will live on in his son, whether in the game of basketball or the game of life

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tonight and random thoughts

By
January 26th, 2011



on the show tonight, ESPN 1420, at 6, will be Tommy Amaker, head coach at Harvard, and former head coach at Seton Hall and Michigan, as well as a former assistant at Duke, and our own Athletic Director, Jim Donovan. Should be interesting.

On the National scene, Ohio State appears to be the clear number one and remains unbeaten while all the teams around it  are taking a loss or two ( in Syracuse's case, three).  Pitt's loss at home to a good Notre Dame team was a surprise to some, but N.D. can beat anybody if they play their game. Syracuse was undefeated and ranked third before two unexplainable losses to Pitts and Villanova, but the blow out loss last night at home to Seton Hall is unexplainable and suggests that once again the Orange are over-rated. Duke suffered its only loss at Fla State, but will not lose many other games this year.

The game i am looking forward to is tonight's match-up against the two surprise teams, BYU and San Diego State. The Aztecs go into Provo as the only other undefeated team, but BYU is ranked in the top ten and is very tough to beat at home. I look for there to be only one undefeated team after tonight.

In the world of the WAC, the second half of the season starts tomorrow when everyone but the Bows will see action. Hawaii will get a few more days to prepare for Utah State who will play at San Jose tomorrow. Lot's of build-up to the Saturday night game. Should be a large crowd. Utah State has run thru the conference again, but the toughest game it faced so far was our game to open the Conference season.

By the way, I should know by now that anytime i raise any issue about the team that is in anyway critical or asks the tough question, i will receive lots of responses. I don't need to agree with them , and i often don't, but i appreciate the responses. Fans have opinions, and some fans will not and cannot accept any other opinions that do not match theirs. That's ok, but don't expect me to waste everyone's time by simply writing a blog that says everything is always great in Alohaland. Its not.

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What's Up with Miles?

By
January 24th, 2011



Something is up with Bobby Miles. He did not see a second of playing time this weekend after playing in all of Hawaii's first 18 games. He even started in 10 games. Now i know players can lose playing time because of injury, lack of progress in practice, or even, as here, a new player, Miah, comes along at the same position. But to not play a minute, even in  a game in which your primary point guard is injured ( as in Sat night) and not playing at full strength.

Now i don't pretend to have any inside information, and maybe this is much ado about nothing, but i doubt it. Something is up. Is it academics? or disciplinary?: or injury related? I understand there are privacy concerns with student athletes, and maybe that's why we are hearing nothing about it. When i asked Gib on Thursday why we hadn't seem Miles, he carefully avoided a direct response.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think Miles is the best guard on the squad, and Miah is now on the team. But you don't start ten games and then not play a minute because you haven't progressed. Yes, your playing time may be limited, but to not play at all. Only asking

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break up the bows

By
January 23rd, 2011



only kidding. But last night's win over San Jose State was significant in that it has been almost three years since the team has won three consecutive WAC conference games.  Yes, the three wins have come against the three weakest teams in the league, but when you won ten games last year, and have missed the tournament the last two years, three wins in a row is significant.

 The team won last night because they dominated the Spartans up front. Once again, Bill Amis proved how much he means to the team and how much his abscence hurt last year's team. And once again, Hiram gutted it out and may have been the difference down the strctch with his heady play and consistant leadership.

But the guy who finally showed something was Justin Thomas. He had his best game by far with 14 points and 14 rebounds and may have fiqured out that his game is in the paint, not at the perimeter.  It has taken 20 games, but hopefully it will sink in.

The first half of the WAC season is over. Some things are clear. The best team, by far, is UH's next opponent Utah State. But the Bows probably played their best WAC game against the Aggies in a loss to open the WAC season, and a win Saturday night is not likley, but not out of the question. Boise and Idaho are the next best teams, and La Tech is the worst. Everybody else is bunched together, but UH has already lost on the road to Nevada and New Mexico State

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Two in a Row

By
January 21st, 2011



It was a nice win for the Bows last night. Not perfect by any means, but a victory nevertheless.  In the first half,  Hawaii played about as well as it has all season. Fresno helped a little bit by foolishly playing zone defense which allowed the Bows to hit 7 of 11 three point attempts ( four by Barnes whose outside shooting had been missing in action for weeks).  The offense looked crisp, and Hawaii's defense held Fresno to 21 first half points. Again, Fresno helped by trying to shoot three pointers instead of looking inside. When you shoot 27 percent from three, and you have a dominant big-man like Greg Smith in the post, you have to question Fresno's offensive strategy.

But once again, the second half was a different story. It seems that game after game, Hawaii comes out of the half-time locker room flat, and the opponent has made second half adjustments that create real problems for the Bows. Last night was no exception, as Fresno played an aggressive man defense that did not allow Hawaii a second half three, and pounded the ball inside for scores. The good news last night, however, was that Hawaii had a 20 point half-time lead and managed to withstand Fresno's second half charge.

With the win, Hawaii goes two games up on La Tech and one up on Saturday night's opponent, San Jose State, who did not play last night. The big question going into that game is will the Spartans best player, Adrian Oliver be able to play as he is coming off of a concussion that has kept him out of the Spartans last two games.

Kudos to several Bow players including Vander Joaquim who clearly outplayed Greg Smith, last year's WAC Freshmen of the Year, and Miah, whose overall play  excited the crowd and helped Hawaii to its large first half lead. ( query, however, the future role of former starting guard, Bobby Miles, who never got off the bench last night).

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home sweet home?

By
January 19th, 2011



The bows return home tomorrow night to play Fresno after winning on the road for the first time in two years. Frenso comes in after losing at home to Idaho with a 3-3 conference record. The Bulldogs are in 5th place in the Conference while  Hawaii sits tied for 7th with San Jose who come here  Sat to play the Bows.

Hawaii has yet to win a home conference game, but with Fresno and San Jose up next, the odds are good that a home win or two is in the forecast.

The top half of the WAC looks pretty clear after three weeks. There is Utah State alone at the top with New Mexico State, Idaho and Boise up next. The bottom half has Fresno, Nevada, San Jose and Hawaii. with La tech bringing up the rear. I dont expect any major changes for the rest of the Conference schedule.

Tonight on Hoops Talk, we will be joined by Andy Katz ( he assures me he will be there), BYU head Coach Dave Rose, whose cougars have only one loss, and our own Gib Arnold. That"s tonight at 6 on ESPN 1420.

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Monkey Off UH Back

By
January 16th, 2011



Well, the road monkey has left the building. last night's 56-48 victory over La tech snapped a 15 game road losing streak going back to 2009. It was less than a perfect win, but after four blow-out losses, its hard to complain.

On a night when UH again turned the ball over 20 times, shot 20% from three,  and 55 % from the foul line, it still managed to win thanks to horrible La Tech shooting ( or we can say really good UH defense), and a 2011 breakout performance from Bill Amis who scored 22 points to go along with 12 rebounds.

Vander continued his strong play by contributing 12 rebounds to go along with 9 points. It was not a good night for Zane who fouled out after a 2-10 shooting night. and again no points from Barnes and only 2 from Wiseman.

UH is now  out of the cellar. Its one win leaves it tied with San Jose State one game ahead of woeful La Tech. But the road win against the Techsters is a huge one when you look at the goal of making the tournament.

Now Hawaii comes home for three home games. Thurs night Fresno comes to town fresh off a home thumping by Utah State . Then its a huge game against San Jose followed by a return visit by League leading and WAC undefeated Utah State. A home victory or two would be nice and very doable.

By the way, UH's tenth win last night matches its total wins last year. Its all gravy from here ( only kidding), but what you want to see is progress and matching last year's win total and breaking the road losing streak are positive signs moving in the right direction.

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The Battle For 8th

By
January 14th, 2011



Its hard to say and even harder to believe, but Saturday night's game against La Tech will determine whether Hawaii or La Tech will remain winless and in last place in the Conference as the Conference ends week three.

To think that the Bows would be winless more than three weeks into the Conference race would have been unthinkable after their performance in the Diamond Head Classic.

But ongoing problems with turnovers, last night, for example, 20 UH turnovers led to 20 New Mexico State points, and woeful three-pont shooting, 4-19, have led to four consecutive blow-outs ( Hawaii trailed by 30 in the second half before falling by 18.

Frankly, only two Bows are playing well right now. Zane had his season high with 25 points and Vander had another double-double. But Barnes and Wiseman combined for no points in 31 minutes.

So it comes down to tomorrow night. La Tech lost last night at home to San Jose State who got their first win without all league performer Adrian Oliver, who sat out the game with an injury. This is a winnable game for Hawaii, but it will have to put it all together, something it hasnt done in 13 consecutive road losses.

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