Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 29, 2004

Rainbows hoping bigger is better

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Tonight is "Black-Out" night for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team, but the Rainbow Warriors are expecting a black-and-blue game with Southern Illinois.


Who: Hawai'i (2-0) vs. Southern Illinois (4-0)

Where: Stan Sheriff Center

When: Tonight, 7:05 start

Tickets: $20 for lower level seats, $15 for upper level adult seats, $5 for upper level student seats, $3 for upper level UH student seats, $5 for Super Rooter section. Parking is $3.

TV/Radio: Live on KFVE (Ch. 5) and KKEA radio (1420 AM)

Hawai'i will host the Salukis in a battle of undefeated teams at the Stan Sheriff Center. The 'Bows will wear black uniforms for the first time, and fans are being encouraged to wear black.

"We need this game," UH senior Jeff Blackett said. "It'll show us where we stand because they're a really good team."

It'll be a matchup of Hawai'i's size against SIU's aggression.

"It'll be physical," Blackett said. "They're as good defensively as any team we'll see."

The Salukis have a longstanding defensive tradition, and this year is no exception. They are allowing just 58.5 points per game, while collecting 11.3 steals per game.

Chris Lowery is in his first season as head coach at SIU, but he is a former Saluki player and assistant coach. He said one of his top priorities was to continue the defensive philosophies of his predecessors.

"One of the hardest things to do in college basketball today is to get kids to commit to playing defense first and offense second," Lowery said. "But that's what we do here."

Hawai'i found out in a 66-62 loss at Carbondale, Ill., last season. The Salukis got 21 steals — a record for a UH opponent.

Hawai'i head coach Riley Wallace said: "They have so much quickness, you can't simulate it in practice."

So Wallace said he will try to counter with a "power" lineup.

Matt Gibson, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, will make his first start of the season at point guard. He will be the shortest player in the Hawai'i lineup.

"I've always been a point guard, but it's not going to be all about me," Gibson said. "It takes the whole team to make our offense run, so hopefully I can come in and get it started."

The 'Bows will also start 6-6 Bobby Nash, 6-8 Blackett, 6-9 Julian Sensley and 7-foot Chris Botez. Those five players stayed on the court the entire second half and erased a 22-point deficit in a 72-65 victory over Coastal Carolina on Friday.

"We'll have to sub," Wallace said. "But it's important to get off to a good start."

Wallace said 6-9 forward Matthew Gipson will be available as a substitute. He missed Saturday's practice without informing the coaches, but practiced yesterday.

The Salukis will start three guards alongside a 6-5 forward and 6-8 center. Their best player is 6-3 guard Darren Brooks, who was last season's Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

"He's a guy I know I can count on at both ends of the court," Lowery said.

Brooks had 18 points and three steals in SIU's victory over Hawai'i last season.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8101.