UH's Lojeski stung by painful loss
|||UH 'freezes up' in 58-52 road defeat|
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dayton Morinaga
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — University of Hawai'i starting shooting guard Matt Lojeski left the U.S. Cellular Arena last night with his left arm in a sling and an icepack on his left shoulder.
It was a somber but fitting scene for Lojeski, who had the worst game of his young career with the Rainbow Warriors at the worst time.
Playing in front of around 300 friends and family members, Lojeski scored a season-low six points in a 58-52 loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Lojeski is from Racine, Wis., which is about a 25-minute drive from Milwaukee.
"It's like injury to insult," he said. "We were losing the game, I was struggling, my family was here. It probably couldn't get any worse."
The 'Bows are certainly hoping the injury does not get worse.
Lojeski was diagnosed with a grade-1 sprain of his left (non-shooting) shoulder. He sustained the injury when he collided with a UWM player, and sat out the final 10 minutes of the game.
"He wasn't playing well, so I don't think it mattered if he was there at the end," Hawai'i head coach Riley Wallace said. "If he had been hitting his shots like he normally does, maybe it's a different story. He just had a bad night and got hurt on top of it."
Lojeski, who is in his first season with the 'Bows, shot 2 of 6 from the field and did not make a 3-pointer for the first time this season. In the first four games of this season, Lojeski made a team-high 13 3-pointers, and was second on the team with 15.5 points per game.
"We just didn't execute as well as we should have," he said. "It was a combination of their pressure and our execution."
The 'Bows do not play again until Saturday, so Wallace expects Lojeski to return to form by then.
Lojeski was not the only Hawai'i player making a homecoming. Senior point guard Deonte Tatum is from Milwaukee and he had around 50 friends and family members in the stands.
"I don't even know what to say to them," Tatum said. "We didn't perform near the way we're supposed to."
Wallace said Tatum was hardly to blame.
"He came with the energy that was needed," Wallace said. "If we could get all of them to play like he did, you'd have seen a different Hawai'i team."
Tatum finished with six points, four assists, four rebounds and six turnovers.
Last summer, Tatum trained with several of the UWM players, including his cousin, starting forward Joah Tucker.
"We talked the whole game," Tucker said. "It's probably the last time we'll get to match up as far as an official game, so we'll talk a lot more about it after this."
"Bracket Buster has been good to us as far as getting us some exposure on national TV," Wallace said. "I'll always be for it no matter where they send us."
The 'Bows will once again host a Bracket Buster game at the Stan Sheriff Center this season (Feb. 18 against an opponent yet to be determined). That means they will have to travel during the 2006-07 season for the "return" game.
"It'll be a tough game, but at least we'll be back at home," Wallace said.
The game was moved to December to accommodate the Bracket Buster game in February.
Reach Dayton Morinaga at email@example.com.