'Bows slowed on way to Moscow
Perhaps it was fitting that the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team had to sit for about 30 minutes on a stalled bus on a dark and lonely road on the way to Moscow, Idaho, last night.
"We got here, that's all that matters," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said.
The Rainbow Warriors now want to overcome similar road stalls to get to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament next week at Reno, Nev.
The 'Bows will play their regular-season finale at Idaho today in what truly is a must-win situation. It is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. (Hawai'i time) at the Cowan Spectrum, and will be broadcast via radio on ESPN 1420 AM.
Hawai'i must win today's game to even have a chance at qualifying for the WAC Tournament.
"We went over the scenarios," Nash said. "We realize it's still in our hands, but also in the hands of other teams. We understand that, and we're going to try and win this game no matter what. Whatever the situation may be, we want to win this game."
Even if the 'Bows win at Idaho, they need visiting San Jose State to beat Boise State, and then host Nevada to beat Louisiana Tech. Hawai'i will qualify for the WAC Tournament only if all three scenarios play out.
Hawai'i is 10-19 overall and in ninth place in the nine-team WAC at 3-12. Idaho is 14-15 overall and in seventh place at 5-10.
The 'Bows put themselves in this complicated scenario with an 82-63 loss at Boise State on Thursday. Hawai'i could have clinched a WAC Tournament spot with a win on Thursday.
The 'Bows stayed in Boise for most of yesterday, even practicing on the Boise State campus yesterday afternoon. They then made the trip to Moscow last night when their bus broke down along the way.
"Practicing in Boise was an option we looked at because it allowed our guys to sleep in and rest," Nash said. "We got what we wanted done in practice, and so things like (travel) won't affect us like it might have if we still had to practice late (in Moscow)."
The extra rest appeared to help leading scorer Roderick Flemings, who was limited to six points in the loss at Boise State. He was suffering from flu-like symptoms before Thursday's game, but was able to practice with the team yesterday.
"He was playing at a high level the last five or six games before this, and his energy was just zapped (on Thursday)," Nash said. "But he looked OK (yesterday), so hopefully he'll be back in form."
Flemings, who averages 16.2 points per game, will have to be in top form if the 'Bows are to score a breakthrough victory. Hawai'i is 0-8 on the road this season.
"We all know this is it," Nash said. "Guys just have to be ready to do whatever it takes. Playing out of position, playing 40 minutes, that's what we're asking."
The 'Bows may have caught a rare road break yesterday with the announcement that Idaho senior guard Kashif Watson will be suspended for today's game due to "conduct detrimental to the program," according to a statement from the University of Idaho.
It is being reported that Watson recently posted critical comments about the Idaho coaches on his Twitter page.
Watson is second on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game. He scored just four points in Idaho's 59-52 win at Hawai'i on Jan. 2.
"We want to keep it a low-scoring game," Nash said. "Not give them too many opportunities."