Friday, February 27, 2009

Hawaii here on Saturday

Does it mean anything? Will it be a factor? That Hawaii was beat up 82-62 by Utah State on Thursday and is now coming to San Jose? Your guess is as good as ours so you are on your own to extrapolate at will.

But there is something that will and should take precedence before we get into the game preview.

DeVonte Thomas, Tim Pierce and DaShawn Wright complete their senior eligibility Saturday night as far as fans viewing them at Walt McPherson Court. The Rebounders have arranged a get-together to honor the trio and it will begin at 5 p.m. as we previously notified you. So please do be there and at the game. We are not here to argue what is more important -- winning the majority of games or graduating student-athletes (as if that is somehow an either/or proposition) -- but just consider that these three young men will have obtained a college degree from San Jose State and the impact that this will have on their respective lives and communities. This is a tremendous success on any scoreboard and one that we and far too many others overlook.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

From the Hawaii athletics site come the following UH-USU game report:

Men's Basketball Defeated At Utah State, 82-62

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai`i men’s basketball team found the going rough on the road with an 82-62 loss to Utah State Thursday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 13-14 and 5-9 in the Western Athletic Conference.

With the win Utah State (26-3, 13-1) claimed the WAC regular season title, its first outright championship since joining the league in 2005. The Aggies, shared the title with three other squads last year, also extended their school-record home win streak to 33 games.

UH, meanwhile, slipped below San Jose State and into a tie for seventh place in the WAC standings with Louisiana Tech. The 20-point loss matched the largest margin of defeat for Hawai`i this season. UH fell at Idaho, 67-47, in January.

UH shot 49 percent for the game tied a season high with six three pointers. But the ’Bows could do little to contain the Aggies inside. Utah State out-scored UH and astounding, 54-12, in the paint with most of the damage done by the front court tandem of Gary Wilkinson and Tai Wesley. Wilkinson finished with a game-high 27 points and Wesley with 16 to lead four Aggies in double figures.

Utah State shot 55 percent from the floor and out-rebounded UH, 36-25, including 16-7 on the offensive end. The Aggies racked up 25 assists on 36 field goals.

Hiram Thompson led UH with a career high 16 points and also notched a personal-best seven assists. Bill Amis finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Roderick Flemings added 10.

UH hung tough early, but the Aggies scored 10 unanswered points to stake a double-digit lead. The Aggies eventually took a 13-point lead, 41-28, into the locker room, powered by Wilkinson and Wesley who combined for 22 points.

The Aggies put the game away in the second half with a 17-4 run, capped by a Stevon Williams fast break layup, that extended their lead to 25 points, 62-37, with just under 11 minutes remaining.

Here's our game writeup from San Jose State's January 17 win over UH in Honolulu:
It was a night in which it seemed neither team was going to run away from the other. But San Jose State initiated the first sprint, going on a 16-4 run to jump ahead 53-42 at the 7:58 mark of the second half.

Hawaii regrouped and cut the lead in half but the Spartans stretched the lead to 11 again and led 59-48 with 3:55 remaining.

It was Justin Graham's explosions that led the bursts as the sophomore backcourter penetrated the paint at will. Graham tied the game at 39 with a putback of his own shot and his three subsequent free throws gave San Jose State its first lead.

The largest Spartan lead was 14.

Graham led four Spartans in double figure scoring with 19 points, joined by Tim Pierce's 13, Robert Owens' 13 and Mac Peterson earned his season high point total with 10.

It was also a contest with more San Jose State free throws than Hawaii and more makes at the foul line.

At the half, Hawaii had a four-point lead at 29-25. Owens led SJSU after 20 minutes with 10 points on 4-7 shooting.

Hawaii jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and it was 14-5 at the 11:45 mark. With 5:57 on the clock, the Rainbow Warriors led 20-14 on 9-18 shooting from the floor. The Spartans were 6-20.

It was 22-19 with 3:26 remaining as Hawaii began having difficulty beating the 35 second clock with shot attempts.

Here are some notes we gathered from the contest:
*** It was a 2-3 SJSU zone defense, less turnovers than Hawaii by six and 20 more Spartan free throws that led to the 73-61 victory.

There was a short period about three quarters of the way through the second half when it appeared Hawaii was mounting a comeback but San Jose State dug in, held fast and then advanced the lead even further.

*** UH put up eight more shots from the floor than San Jose State (50-42) but the Spartans were awarded 20 more free throws (36-16) -- something that must have had Bob Nash wondering about a homecourt advantage. The Rainbow Warriors entered the contest getting around six more foul shots per game this season than opponents.

*** How many games have you witnessed in which a team (Hawaii) had three shot clock violations take place?

*** Justin Graham led the San Jose State scoring with 19 points -- there must be something special for him about facing UH as he scored 29 points against the Rainbow Warriors in the game last season in San Jose -- going 7-9 from the floor and 14-17 at the foul line.

*** Look at the Spartan shooting numbers, an actual winning of the trifecta took place: 47.6% overall, 71.4% on five of seven treys and 77.8% on free throws (28-36).

*** San Jose State also won the turnover battle, earning 13 to Hawaii's 19.

*** Getting Bill Amis into foul trouble was a major factor as he's the most valuable UH big man.

*** Roderick Flemings is the real deal but he was forced to play 39 minutes last night. His three boards were about half his average and he compiled one assist to six turnovers.

Hawaii's WAC play to date
01/03/2009 Boise State L - 58-70
01/05/2009 Louisiana Tech W - 65-64
01/08/2009 @ Idaho L - 47-67
01/10/2009 @ Boise State L - 49-54
1/17/2009 San Jose State L - 61-73
1/22/2009 @ Nevada L - 63-74
1/24/2009 Utah State L - 51-67
1/29/2009 @ Louisiana Tech W - 54-53
1/31/2009 @ New Mexico State L - 72-82
2/5/2009 Fresno State W - 69-43
2/7/2009 Idaho W - 71-49
2/14/2009 Nevada L - 46-47
2/19/2009 @ Fresno State W - 73-69

ESPNU BracketBusters
2/21/2009 UC Irvine L - 70-76
2/26/2009 @ Utah State L - 62-82

Bob Nash's Starting Five
Paul Campbell 6-10 junior 2.9 ppg., 3.2 rpg. -- He's more a shotblocker than offensive force but has erupted every now and then with double figure scoring.

Bill Amis 6-9 junior 9.9 ppg., 6.4 rpg. -- He's a lefty which sometimes causes problems by itself and shows good range as well as craftiness offensively.

Kareem Nitoto 6-2 sophomore -- This guy is a great athlete but sort of as hybrid in that he is not necessarily a traditional point nor a solid shooter. Nobody will outwork him. He will be facing Justin Graham and Adrian Oliver -- former teammates on the Oakland Soldiers club basketball team.

Hiram Thompson 6-2 sophomore -- He had the best game of any Rainbow Warrior against Utah State but is still hampered by a balky hamstring. Thompson is more of a point thah any other player on the UH roster.

Roderick Flemings 6-7 junior 17.6 ppg., 5.8 rpg. -- The best player on the team, he is the one true creator and the best athlete for Hawaii. His most remarkable stat is that his rebounding totals are next to even. Shutting him down is next to impossible but the key is not letting him parade to the foul line.

Off The Bench
Adhar Mayen 6-8 junior -- He's another fine athlete, long and lanky, with some scoring ability.

Brandon Adams 6-7 junior -- He's limited offensively but a hard worker and another good runner/jumper. Adams has been starting off-and-on of late.

The Rainbow Warrior Roster (by position, alphabetically)
Kareem Nitoto G 6-2 185 sophomore
Hiram Thompson G 6-2 175 sophomore
Gary Satterwhite Jr. G 6-3 175 freshman
Lasha Parghalava G 6-2 195 junior
Conrad Fitzgerald G 6-5 210 freshman
Beau Albrechtson G 6-4 205 freshman
Leroy Lutu G 6-3 200 freshman
Roderick Flemings G 6-7 210 junior

Ji Xiang F 6-10 240 freshman
Adhar Mayen F 6-8 195 junior
Brandon Adams F 6-7 220 junior
Adam Jespersen F 6-7 210 freshman
Bill Amis F 6-9 220 junior

Petras Balocka C 6-8 250 Junior (injured)
Paul Campbell C 6-10 215 junior

The UH roster certainly has an international and Bay Area flavor. Petras Balocka hails from Lithuania, Paul Campbell and Adam Jespersen are Canadian, Lasha Parghalava comes from the Republic of Georgia and Ji Xiang is Chinese.(China). Plus, Adhar Mayen is out of Texas but was born in The Sudan. Kareem Nitito graduated from San Leandro High and Brandon Adams is a transfer from Diablo Valley College in Contra Costa County. The nitot family will definitely be out in full force.

What Else

From today's Honolulu Star Bulletin:

"...For the Aggies, senior forward Gary Wilkinson paced the home team with 27 points in just 27 minutes, while sophomore forward Tai Wesley added 16 points and eight rebounds. Hawaii big man Petras Balocka didn't make the road trip due to a groin injury, and Utah State took advantage, outscoring the 'Bows 54-12 in the paint..."

"...Hawaii (5-9, 13-14) shot a solid 48.9 percent from the field for the game and knocked down six of 10 3-point attempts, but the 'Bows committed 16 turnovers, surrendered 16 offensive rebounds and took 18 fewer shots than the Aggies..."

Can C.J. Webster as well as the Spartan offensive rebounding add to the Rainbow Warriors inside woes?

Bob Nash's team has enjoyed some sharpshooting games of late after really struggling early in the season and in the beginning stages of conference play. Keeping UH at 42% or below would really aid the Spartan cause.

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