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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

Broncos hoping to cool off Rainbows

Read a transcipt of last night's live chat with Predrag Savovic

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Playing the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team in Honolulu is hardly a day at the beach these days.

UH point guard Mark Campbell said he expects a tough game.

Advertiser library photo

Boise State head coach Rod Jensen knows it, and so he got that part out of the way yesterday afternoon.

"I told my players to go out and enjoy the sun, enjoy the beach, and just enjoy Hawai'i," Jensen said. "It was 17 degrees when we left Boise (Idaho), so we'd be crazy not to take a little bit advantage of this."

It just so happens that Hawai'i is also home to the hottest team in the Western Athletic Conference, and the Rainbow Warriors are hoping to burn the Broncos tonight.

The 'Bows are experiencing one of the best seasons in the program's history with records of 17-3 overall and 8-1 in the WAC. The Broncos, in their first season in the WAC, are 8-11 overall and 2-7 in the conference. They have lost four consecutive games.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that Hawai'i is leading the conference," Jensen said. "They are a great basketball team."

The 'Bows have been especially good in the Stan Sheriff Center, where they are 11-1 this season. After a three-game road trip, Hawai'i will be playing at home for the first time in 19 days.

WAC basketball
 •  Who: Boise State vs. Hawai'i
 •  When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
 •  Where: Stan Sheriff Center
 •  TV: Live on K5 (channel 5, cable 5)
 •  Radio: KCCN 1420-AM
"If we want to stay where we are, defending home court is the most important thing we can do," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "But it certainly helps the confidence of the guys to have already beat some of these teams."

On Jan. 5, Hawai'i defeated Boise State, 64-62, at Boise, Idaho.

"That doesn't mean anything," UH point guard Mark Campbell said. "If anything, the rest of the season is going to be harder for us because teams are going to give us their best games from here on out."

If Boise State is to be at its best, much will depend on senior Abe Jackson. The 6-foot-7 forward leads the WAC with 60 3-pointes and ranks second with 19.3 points per game. He scored 27 in the loss against Hawai'i.

"There will be no one guy (defending) him," Wallace said. "We want to give it a couple of different looks. He'll get his points because he's a great shooter. We just want to limit him."

At the same time, Jensen is concerned with Hawai'i's shooters, especially Predrag Savovic, who scored 22 in the victory over the Broncos. His improbable bank shot with 1:52 remaining was "devastating," according to Jensen.

"It's almost like that one shot took something out of us for the rest of the games since," he said. "We haven't been playing as hard and as consistent as we'd like."

Tonight's game will feature the top two statistical defensive teams in the conference.

"I wouldn't say they're dirty, but they are very physical," said Campbell, who took an elbow to the head from Boise State's C.J. Williams in the last meeting. "They work hard on defense, just like we do, so I expect it to be a tough game."

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