Fight Night on the Friendly Isle
Saturday night's game on Molokai will be remembered by those who were there for many reasons, some good, one not so good. First the good.
The reception afforded to the teams by the people of the Friendly Island was extraordinary. The stands were full, the crowd vocal, and the hospitality was incredible. The post game meal provided to the teams, and the radio broadcasters, among others, will not be soon forgotten. And it has been a long time since anyone asked for my autograph. Gib is to be commended for scheduling this game, and kudos to Chaminade for hosting the event.
The game itself was exciting. It was fast paced with lots of offense. I expected UH to dominate the boards and score inside at will, and Chaminade to keep the game competitive with its guard play and three point shooting. What i didnt expect was Hawaii's ability to make three's , and ultimately, that was the difference in the final score.
On the negative side, from a basketball prosepctive, was Hawaii's continuing inability to maintain large second half leads. Once again, Hawaii almost let a 20 point lead evaporate in the second half. But once Chaminade got to within five, the Bows stepped to the line and converted, something they have been unable to do consistently so far this year.
The big negative were the four technical fouls and the loss of control by Tavita and Vander. We have seen this from Vander too often and last year the officials in the WAC were careful in trying to keep Vander under control. Saturday night, his going after a Chaminade player after a good hard, but clean foul, on a breakaway dunk, was totally uncalled for, and if there had been video of the play, Vander might have found himself suspended for a game or two. Tavita's first technical might be excused by some coming after a collision near mid court, but the second, when he left the bench to " assist Vander", is inexcusabe, especially coming from a team captain. Credit Gib for flying off the bench to grab Tavita, and for his harsh words after the game. Its too bad that these two incidents marred an otherwise great game of basketball by two teams giving all they had.
So the Bows now have 5 wins against weak competition, two loses against very good teams, and the hard to expalin loss to Pepperdine. But now the competition takes a huge step up with Saturday's opening match against a good Miami(Fla) team followed, if they win, against a probable game against a top 7 team in Arizona. I will preview the entire tournament later this week and Jackson and I will do so as well tomorrow on Hoopstalk at 7 on ESPN 1420.