By Jeff Portnoy
The Bows go out on the road after winning thier 5th straight this weekend beating UC Irvine after Thursday's impressive win over league leading Long Beach State. Hawaii played a perfect first half against the 48er's before LBS decided to play some defense in the second half creating 20 plus turnovers on 19 steals ( yes that's 19). But a 33 point halftime lead ( yes 33) was too much to overcome and Hawaii held on to win. Saturday's game was a give and take affair, but once again UH's frontline was too much for another Big West opponent. By the way, as i said last week, Long Beach is very over-rated, but nobody could have predicted the way Hawaii handled them in the first half
Christain Standhardinger continues his excellent play and was selected today as the Big Werst Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, the first time a Rainbow basketball player has done that since Anthony Harris was the WAC player of the week two consecutive weeks back in 1995-96. UH is doing a much better job handling the basketball as Tavita has settled into the point guard position. He still cant score and that can be a problem as the season progresses. Vander continues to dominate inside with Fotu providing strong minutes off the bench, and the team is managing to get some scoring from either Brereton, Jawato, or Spearman, although usually not in the same game.
UH now stands alone in second place, a game and half behing Long Beach and 1 game ahead of third place Pacific. It will be difficult to catch Long Beach, but second or third is clearly within reach depending on the outcome of this week's two road games at Pacific and Davis. I am predicting the opposite results of what happened when these teams played in Honolulu. You may recall that Hawaii beat Pacific 60-52 when the Tigers shot miserably, making only 3-27 from three and shooting 31% from the field. And Hawaii lost to Davis on a career night for Corey Hawkins who scored 40 points while he and his teammates shot 16-26 from 3. In that game, the Hawaii frontline scored 46 points.
Pacific stands in third place and needs the win against Hawaii. They shoot much better at home, play very discilplined basketball and i think will beat UH this time around. On the other hand, Davis has the worst home record in the Conference, and i would think Gib will devise a plan to keep Hawkins from going off again. So i see the Rainbows coming back home with a 1-1 road trip and a half game lead over Pacific for second place with three Conference games left, 2 at home. Its been a long time since a Hawaii basketball team was this high in the league standings this late in the season.
By the way, i am somewhat surprised and disappointed by the lack of bigger crowds at the games. You would think that with Hawaii playing well and winning, fans would come out, but maybe its the lack of name opponents or natural rivals that is keeping folks away. On the other hand, the student turnout and participation has been great. Credit everyone at UH from the administrators to the coaches for bringing a big time student presence to the Arena.