UH must rebound after tough loss
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
A loss — even one by 44 points — can only count as one loss.
In the aftermath of its record-setting loss at Utah State on Monday, the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team was focused on other numbers yesterday.
"We just need to get back to winning games," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "We're not out of anything right now."
The Rainbow Warriors returned to Honolulu on Tuesday afternoon and conducted a closed-door practice yesterday. They will host San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference game on Sunday.
The 98-54 loss at Utah State was the worst WAC loss by a Hawai'i team in 31 seasons as a conference member.
It dropped the 'Bows to 8-9 overall and 1-3 in the conference. Perhaps a consolation is that Hawai'i is not in last place.
The 'Bows are currently tied with Idaho for seventh place in the nine-team WAC. Boise State is in ninth at 0-4.
At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams will qualify for the WAC Tournament at Reno, Nev.
"There's still a lot of games left," Nash said. "We have to be a team that's going to be resilient and be as good as we can be when the WAC Tournament rolls around."
Nash said he will not make wholesale changes to the lineup, although some of the reserve players may see more playing time during the team's upcoming three-game homestand.
"That last game obviously wasn't what we were hoping for," he said. "But I saw some fight in some of the guys in the second half, even when we were down 30, 40 points."
In particular, Brandon Adams, Douglas Kurtz, Leroy Lutu Jr. and Ji Xiang earned praise for their effort in the blowout situation of the second half.
"Those guys showed that they can help us in certain situations," Nash said. "That's something to build on."
The 'Bows have the rest of this week to prepare for the Spartans, and Nash said the 'Bows will work on the "correctable" deficiencies.
For example, he noted that Hawai'i ranks first in the WAC in offensive rebounding, but last in defensive rebounding.
"It's an amazing stat when you think about it," he said. "It shows that we're getting the job done on one end of the floor, but not the other. That's something that's correctable."
More important, the 'Bows need to increase their assists while decreasing their turnovers. They are currently averaging 14.2 assists and 14.8 turnovers per game.
"We've been our own worst enemy in that area," he said. "When we get our assists, we win games. When we're careless with the basketball, turning it over and not playing smart, we lose games."
FLEMINGS, BALOCKA STILL RECOVERING
Starting forwards Roderick Flemings and Petras Balocka were not able to practice yesterday, but are expected to be ready by this weekend.
Flemings aggravated a knee injury on the road trip. Balocka suffered a shoulder injury in a loss at Fresno State last Saturday and sat out the loss at Utah State.
"They're both still a little sore and needed time," Nash said. "Fortunately we've got some extra days this week and I expect both those guys to be ready to help us."