Monday, February 28, 2011

Let's hula Hawaii

Hawaii is here Thursday night for a 7:30 p.m. game with San Jose State. It's a UH victorious in eight of its last 10 games as Coach Gib Arnold's group of newcomers has melded together well. Arnold has praised the defensive effort of his players and deservedly so as the Rainbow Warriors have held three straight WAC opponents to less than 40% overall shooting (Nevada and Louisiana Tech both to 37% and, most recently, New Mexico State to 36%.

Another factor figuring prominently in Hawaii's success is the emergence of football player Jeremiah Ostowski as the starting point. Former starter Hiram Thompson went out with an arm injury a few games back and this provided the opening for the 5-foot-9 Ostrowski, who is a defensive back on the gridiron and came over in December. His play has certainly aided the UH hoops fortunes but improvement from others on the team is just as significant.

Junior college transfer and sophomore Vander Joaquim is rebounding, defending and now even scoring well. Senior Bill Amis has been a steady contributor of double-doubles, along with some shotblocking.

Something to watch for is that it should be the Warrior starters doing the damage as the Hawaii bench is lean and not contributing all that much. Two guards departed from the squad at the break in December and that has lessened the available depth in the backcourt.

Here is our game report from the earlier matchup of these two teams:

Spartans fall to Hawaii 67-61

The Spartans wore blue and felt that way after giving Hawaii a run on the road before falling 67-61. Elvis was obviously not in the building. Otherwise, it would have been blue Hawaii.

With 11:25 remaining, the score was 47-42, with SJSU down by five.

Later, Justin Graham's jumper at the 6:33 mark cut the deficit to 53-52.

But UH then went on a mini-run, boosting the margin to 61-54 with 4:50 showing.

At that point, Adrian Oliver made one of two free throws but UH's Joston Thomas countered with a pair at the foul line. Hiram Thompson connected on 1 of 2 at the charity line to make it 64-55. An Oliver runner cut the lead to seven.

Bill "Famous" Amis then got free for a dunk and the contest was over minus additional trips to the foul line.

It was inconsistent free-throw shooting hindered SJSU.

Amis totaled 20 points and nine boards. Fellow frontcourter Joston Thomas put up a 14/14 double-double.

Justin Graham led the Spartans with 20 points. He also notched six rebounds and four assists with nary a turnover. Keith Shamburger totaled 12 points with Oliver and Wil Carter contributing 10 apiece. Matt Ballard led in rebounding, corralling 10 boards. SJSU shot 31% overall.

At the half, it was 31-24.

Adrian Oliver returned to the starting lineup tonight. He picked up a pair of somewhat early fouls, thereby missing some of his usual playing time early on. Rebounding totals were fairly even, it seemed like UH big Vander Joaquim was having a block-athon.and the teams went back and forth. Late in the initial 20 minutes, a 9-0 run pushed Hawaii to a 10-point lead until Graham's trey cut it to seven.

The Rainbow Warrior Starting Five (numbers are for WAC games)

* 6-foot-10 sophomore Vander Joaquim -- 12.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, 23 blocked shots, his numbers are improving as the season progresses

* 6-foot-9 senior Bill Amis -- averaging 14.2 points and 7.8 rebounds a game with 26 shotblocks in 12 games

* 6-foot-7 freshman Trevor Wiseman -- label him the Energizer Bunny as he averages but 3 points and 3.5 rebounds a game but brings a franticness to the court

* 6-foot-6 junior Zane Johnson -- 14.7 ppg., the long distance marksman on the team, shooting 39% on trey attempts, 101 of his 154 shots have been three-pointers

* 5-foot-9 junior Jeremiah Ostrowski -- 38/23 assist-to-turnover ratio, can pop from three but is more of a dribble-driver penetrator

Again, 6-foot-3 senior Hiram Thompson, the normal starter at the point, is sidelined with an arm injury

Off The Bench

* 6-foot-7 sophomore Joston Thomas -- he enjoyed a brief 'vacation' recently when concerns erupted about his dwindling PT, is best inside the paint, very athletic, tries to do too much and goes outside his skills zone which led to his benching which then prompted his hiatus

6-foot-1 freshman Bobby Miles -- he's now the backup at the point despite his freshman status

* 7-foot-0 senior Doug Kurtz -- the back-up in the middle, he can score inside

* 6-foot-4 freshman Bo Barnes -- he started out on fire from long distance this season but has since enjoyed less and less PT, 54 of his 64 shots have been three-pointers

As a team, the Rainbow Warriors are shooting 44% in WAC play to 41% for opposing teams. UH is underwater in assist-to-turnover ratio as a team at 147/213.

If Zane Johnson doesn't shoot well from outside, then UH suffers because his teammates, Bo Barnes excepted, don't possess that kind of range.

Hawaii's WAC schedule to date

12/29/2010 @ Utah State L 66-74
12/31/2010 @ Nevada L 69-86
1/6/2011 Idaho L 44-59
1/8/2011 Boise State L 55-79
1/13/2011 @ New Mexico State L 64-82
1/15/2011 @ Louisiana Tech W 56-48
1/20/2011 Fresno State W 62-52
1/22/2011 San Jose State W 67-61
1/29/2011 Utah State L 84-89 (2OT)
2/03/2011 @ Boise State W 73-66
2/05/2011 @ Idaho L 61-75
2/14/2011 Nevada W 69-67 (OT)
Wolf Pack big Dario Hunt totaled just seven points and six rebounds.

2/24/2011 Louisiana Tech W 71-58
Tech's big man Olu Ashaolu was held to just nine points and four boards.

2/26/2011 New Mexico State W 76-70
In the above game against the Aggies, Zane Johnson led the way, scoring 22 points, including 6-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Center Vander Joaquim also came up big, finishing with 18 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots. He shot 7 for 10 from the field, and 4 of 4 on free throws. Bill Amis contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. He also played a key defensive role, helping limit New Mexico State forward Troy Gillenwater to six points on 2-of-10 shooting.

The UH Roster

Bo Barnes G 6-4 190 Fr.Bobby Miles G 6-1 190 Fr.
Zane Johnson G 6-6 210 Jr.
Bobby MIles, G, 6-1 190 Fr.
Pi`i Minns G 6-4 180 So. (walk-on)
Jeremiah Ostrowski G 5-9 175 Jr. (walk-on)
Hiram Thompson G 6-3 175 Sr.

Bill Amis F 6-9 235 Sr.
Dominick Brumfield F 6-8 215 So.
Joston Thomas F 6-7 235 So.
Trevor Wiseman F 6-7 210 Fr.

Vander Joaquim C 6-10 245 So. (Angola)
Douglas Kurtz C 7-0 265 Sr. (Brazil)
Davis Rozitis C 7-0 230 So. (Latvia) (redshirting)

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