By Jeff Portnoy
Ok students, lets do some simple Math. 3 for 19 shooting from beyond the Arc against a loose 1-2-2 zone equals a very disappointing loss. Its that simple. The only way Hawaii was going to beat Santa Barbara was to hit outside shots. They didnt. And its not just this game that has exposed Hawaii's permieter shooting woes. Shamburger, Spearman, and Standhardinger are all shooting about 25% in League play from beyond the arc. Shut down Neverls, as the Gauchos did yesterday, and Hawaii struggles offensively.
Couple of addtional observations. First, and I have said this all year, Shamburger has no shot. Yes, occasionally he will hit a three, but teams have fiqured out that it is far more likley he will miss. Last night, he missed 5 wide-open threes. But he keeps shooting. Perhaps he should have looked for Nevels a little more. And teams have begun to fiqure out how to keep Standhardinger from scoring in the paint and not foul him. yet, he failed to adjust his game for the third night in a row.
Defensively, Hawaii did what it needed to do. They forced the Gauchos into turnovers and , at times, really poor shot selection. But if you cant convert on the offensive end after making stops, you lose.
So for the second consecutive Thursday, Hawaii lost a home game they needed to win to be competitive at the top of the league. The season is only half over, but it will tough for UH to get those two games back. Can they do it in a perfect storm world? Yes, butIi think it is more likley they will not catch all of the three teams ahead of them.
Cal Poly comes into town tomorrow. It is a team that has had Hawaii's number the last two years, but i think Hawaii will bounce back with a win. Cal Poly is really struggling and has played very poorly on the road. The two teams are tied for third fourth place at 4-4, so it an important game.
I know some folks thought UH would go 4-0 on this home stand, especially after the huge win at Irvine. I cautioned folks that was not likley, but i did think 3-1 was a reality. Now we are hoping for 2-2. I think we will get there, and next week's road trip is the easiest of the season, so all is not lost.