By Jeff Portnoy
Last night's game was much closer than anybody expected and much closer than it needed to be. Frankly, the Hawaii inside game was almost nonexistent as they had to play a against a solid frontline and a very good center in Alan Willaims. For much of the game, Vander played poorly as it looked as though he came out wanting to prove he could play well against another good bigman, but the opposite occurred for the first 35 minutes. He was " benched" at least twice by Gib, and at one point verbally expressed his frustration at the coaching staff. But in the end, he was the difference ( along with Tavita) as he calmly made 6 consecuutive free throws in the last minute and a half to seal the victory.
Jace Tavita was the star. All season i have been writing about how important it is for Jace to shoot the three as teams play way off of him allowing opponents to double team the bigs inside. Last night proved how correct that opinion is as he made 5 of 7 threes and saved the day for the Bows. Not only was he the leading scorer ( what odds you could have gotten on that), but it caused Santa Barbara to come out to guard him late in the game opening things up for Fotu. As i first said here some weeks ago, he is clearly the most imporved player on this team this year.
Credit the Bows for winning an ugle game, coming from 8 down with under 8 to play. But they will not be as fortunate saturday night against a much better Cal Poly team if they dont come out from the opening tip ready to play. Its Senior night, and its a very important game as Hawaii battles to finish second or third. I think second may be slipping away, as Pacific won a big road game last night to stay a half game ahead of
Hawaii with one road game left at woeful Riverside and then two winnable games at home. But you never know?
Its the home fams last chance to see this year's team unless they get a home game in the Riley Wallace Invitational, assuming they dont win the Conference Tournament ( something i think they have a solid chance of doing, although i also think they could lose in the opening round, the Conference is so balanced this year, at least the top 5 teams are). So come on out to cheer the team on and to say goodby at what is always one of the best Senior nights in college basketball. They deserve your attendance and support