By Jeff Portnoy
It continues to be a woulda, coulda, so close, we had them, kind of season for UH. Yesterday's loss to Long Beach is just another example of the team falling just a little short against the better teams in the league. After leading almost the entire game, the Bows could not come up with a defensive rebound when it counted and failed to get a solid last second play in losingoan a late three to the Beach.
Other than the miracle win against Irvine, UH has not beaten the three teams above them in the standings and will finish fourth. They still have a chance to beat one of the top teams next week at Santa Barbara, but other than pride, it really doesnt mean very much.
Once again, Hawaii struggled from three. Shamburger continued his season long shooting woes going 1-6. and he would not have been my choice to attempt the last shot. Issac had an average game on the road again, and Nevels took 12 shots and made only 4. Standhardinger and Spearman had solid offensive games.
Irvine's win at home against Santa Barbara gives them a leg up in winning the league, but frankly, no team has stood out as the clear favorite to represent the league in the NCAA's. I think Hawaii has as good chance to win three in a row as any team, and i dont give any of the bottom 4 teams any chance. They are not very good, although on a given night, Northridge or Fullerton could spring the upset. And if Hawaii doesnt get some decent outside shooting in the Tournament, they could be one and done despite Standhardinger and Fotu's ability to dominate inside.
With two games left, I think this has to be considered a frustrating season for UH. They came so close in one big game after another, but couldnt pull off the win in all but one of those contests. But they were in almost every league game, except maybe the early loss at Cal Poly. The inability to find any consistant outside scorer will prove to have been the team's Achilles Heel. But they did win four road games in a row, and had the nice win against St. Mary's in the Diamond Head. They played Missouri tough on the road, and beat the teams they were supposed to beat. But to be sucessful, you have to win some against teams that are competitive and even better than you ( on records alone), and this team just couldnt get it done, falling just short.
But the tournament looms ahead and all will be forgotton if the Bows win it all. If they dont, there will be those who will say year four of the Gib regime was ok, but nothing to write home about. 20 wins is still very doable, and that's saying something. But lets face it, in a weak league with no outstanding teams, some folks want more. And not a buy-in tournament. Ibelieve things are moving in the right direction, but some will say not fast enough. That's what makes being a fan so much fun. Just continue to support the program and let your voices be heard, no matter what your opinions maybe