Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 10, 2000

R A I N B O W _ B A S K E T B A L L

Wallace not too
discouraged by
’Bows’ road loss

By Pat Bigold


University of Hawaii head basketball coach Riley Wallace isn't a man to condone failure.

But after Saturday night's 95-83 loss at UTEP, he still had some good things to say about his Rainbows.

"It wasn't an ugly loss, by any means," said Wallace.

Wallace said the way his Rainbows (11-3) played the Miners (10-4) showed him they've developed more confidence about being on the road. That could pay dividends during the next six road games and the Western Athletic Conference tournament at Fresno this March.

"We were much better than we were at Southern Cal and much better than we were on the road any time last year," said Wallace. "Our kids showed up to play."

Hawaii was blown out, 85-56, on the Trojans' home court on Dec. 8.

In fact, the Rainbows opened well against UTEP, running out to a 19-11 lead with Predrag Savovic hitting three 3-pointers.

Hawaii's team stats weren't all that bad.

The Rainbows had three players (Savovic 22, Troy Ostler 20 and Marquette Alexander 14) in double figures, shot 50 percent from the floor to UTEP's 43, 53 percent from 3-point range to UTEP's 38, and 64 percent from the free-throw line. The assist-to-turnover ratio was 21-to-16.

The free throw percentage was a significant drop from the 80 percent Hawaii was shooting over the previous four games and it didn't help that the Miners were shooting 87 percent (28-for-32).

But Wallace said being outrebounded, 35-33, was what really hurt.

"This is a good rebounding team and when they get outrebounded, they lose," he said.

"They (UTEP) had 10 points in the first half, all off offensive boards."

Hawaii trailed, 45-36, at the half.

Wallace seems so pleased with this team's attitude and coach-ability that he's willing to give it positive reinforcement in the face of defeat.

"They handled everything," he said. "They stayed in the game. They concentrated. They gave effort."

Wallace pointed to UTEP's top 50 RPI rating and the fact that the game was on the Miners' court.

"We weren't supposed to win this," he said. "But we've got to keep working to win the ones we're not supposed to win, and keep winning the ones we're supposed to win."

This week, Wallace said the Rainbows have to win two in a row at the Stan Sheriff Center to get back on track in the WAC race.

On Wednesday, the opponent will be SMU (13-2).

That might seem like going from the frying pan into the fire.

"Tulsa is playing the best team game right now, but man for man, SMU and Fresno State have the best individual talent on the floor in the WAC," said Wallace.

The Mustangs' talent includes the potent perimeter posse of 1998-99 WAC Mountain Division player of the year Jeryl Sasser (17.2 ppg), Willie Davis (17.5 ppg) and Stephen Woods (14.2 ppg).

Having been beaten by the Miners, Hawaii might have taken into account that the Mustangs beat New Mexico State at home, 68-59, on Jan. 2. The Aggies rallied from a 10-point deficit with just over a minute to go to beat the Miners at UTEP last week.

SMU has won nine of its last 10 games.

When TCU (9-7) visits Saturday, the Horned Frogs will be playing their third road game in a row. They started the road swing on Saturday with a loss at Southwest Missouri. They blew a nine-point lead with 5:26 remaining. On Thursday, they will play at San Jose State (9-6).


WAC standings

		Conference			Overall
		W	L 	Pct. 	W 	L 	Pct. 
Tulsa 		1 	0 	1.000 	14 	1 	.933
SMU 		1 	0 	1.000 	13 	2 	.867
UTEP 		1 	0 	1.000 	10 	4 	.714
Fresno St. 	0 	0 	-- 	10 	6 	.625
SJSU 		0 	0 	-- 	9 	6 	.600
Hawaii 		0 	1 	.000 	11 	3 	.786
TCU 		0 	1 	.000 	9 	8 	.529
Rice 		0 	1 	.000 	4 	8 	.333

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