By Jeff Portnoy
Uh's loss at Irvine was a tough loss to take. The Bows controlled the first half, but steals and turnovers turned the game around and even a heroic last 38 seconds could not change the outcome. 17 turnovers and 8 steals led to 21 points for the Anteaters, and even good free throw shooring and the usual rebounding advantage could not make up for the continuing lack of solid guard play. Another ongoing issue is the inconsistant outside shooting where guys are having difficulty in putting two good shooting nights together( Standhardinger, Jawato, and Spearman, not to mention the total breakdown in Brereton's offensive game).
But the game against a mediocre Irvine team was the easier one on this trip as now the Bows travel to preseason favorite Long Beach State tomorrow for an afternoon game. This year's edition of the 49ers are not nearly as talented as last year's team, but now that they are at full strength, they are still pretty good. They have played and lost against some of the best team's in the Country and their strength of schedule is number 1. Losses to Arizona, Syracuse, UCLA, UNC and Ohio State have led to their under 500 record, but they are 3-1 in the Big West, with their only league loss coming on the road at once beaten Cal Poly.
They did not have two of their important players until second semester, those being Arz St transfer Keala King and Depaul transfer Tony Freeland. They are quick and athletic, just the type of team that bothers UH in the backcourt. They have some height, although they are being outrebounded ( but look who have played). This one has the potential to get a little ugly, but UH has played well in the Honda center( formerly the Pyramid), and this is team that fights till the end. But it will take a complete game for UH to win. That means limit turnovers to 10-12, make free throws, control the boards, and get two or three guys to make shots.
What we now is that there appears to be no dominating team in the Big West. I think there 4 0r 5 teams that are essentially equal. Home wins are critical, some road wins are necessary as well in order to compete for the title. In my view, this is one of two or three toughest leage road games for the Bows. A win would be surprising and very important. Frankly, a loss is no big deal in the scheme of things