With time already running out on the Western Athletic Conference season, the Hawaii men’s basketball team must make a 2-for-1 play tonight.
The Rainbow Warriors (9-6, 0-3 Western Athletic conference) can bust the first real losing streak of Gib Arnold’s short tenure at UH, and simultaneously debunk the notion that they can’t play with athletic teams.
That’s exactly what the WAC-leading Broncos (10-5, 3-0) are — athletic. Don’t expect BSU to be worn out after a 102-101, four-overtime marathon win over San Jose State on Thursday, because they won’t be.
Western Athletic Conference
» Who: Boise State (10-5, 3-0 WAC) vs. Hawaii (9-6, 0-3)
» When/Where: 7:30 p.m. today, at Stan Sheriff Center
» TV/Radio: KFVE/KKEA, 1420-AM
While BSU was pulling out that thriller, UH was struggling at home against a quick but mostly unremarkable Idaho team. The Rainbows fell 59-44, posting their lowest point total since a 58-37 loss to Oklahoma State in 1998.
That was also the last time no UH player scored in double figures, until Thursday. UH shot a season-low 29.4 percent from the field. In recent games, UH also struggled against athletic teams Florida State and Nevada.
"It’s definitely on us," said senior forward Bill Amis. "(Idaho) played a good game, not to take anything away from them. We feel like we just didn’t have it (that) night."
UH can ill afford an 0-4 start to WAC play heading into its difficult two-game road trip to New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech next week. The last of nine teams after 16 league games fails to qualify for the WAC tournament, as was UH’s fate last year.
After a shortened practice yesterday, coach Gib Arnold acknowledged matching up with Boise State’s athletic guards will be difficult. But he believes the team’s hustle seen during a 9-3 mark through nonconference play would return.
"I think that’s one thing we have done this year, is come to play, and we needed to do a better job (Thursday) night," Arnold said. "And I think this team will respond. Don’t count us out, we’re just going to keep coming, keep getting better."
Boise State is the highest-scoring team in the league at 76.9 ppg. First-year coach Leon Rice rated his team’s energy level normal upon arrival in Honolulu yesterday. Guard La’Shard Anderson had a career-high 31 points in the longest game in BSU history, raising his season average to 14.7 ppg.
"I think the guys have been pretty resilient," Rice said. "I think the WAC’s crazy in that there’s a lot of teams that can beat each other."
Tavita ready to help in practice
Former Utah guard Jace Tavita practiced as a Rainbow Warrior for the first time yesterday. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound junior will be strictly a practice player for one full year, per NCAA transfer rules.
After becoming disenchanted at Utah in midseason, the former team captain came to Hawaii because of his family background — he is part-Hawaiian — and because he knew Arnold going back to a basketball camp in the eighth grade.
"We have a good relationship," said Tavita, who’s considered a solid defensive player. "I’m comfortable playing for him and I like what he’s doing over here, so I want to be part of that."
Tavita, who grew up in Utah, played in five games for the Utes this year, averaging 1.2 points and 3.4 rebounds. He wasn’t with the team when Utah lost to Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic.
"I watched it," he said. "I was rooting for Hawaii and I’m happy they won."