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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 24, 2000

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

still a problem
for Rainbows

By Pat Bigold


When Hawaii returns to practice tomorrow, rebounding will be a major item on head coach Riley Wallace's agenda.

If Hawaii, which has just come off a 1-1 road trip, is to climb back into the Western Athletic Conference race, the Rainbows must take full advantage of a three-game home stand that starts Saturday.

Wallace has said all three games against San Jose State (Saturday), UTEP (Feb. 3) and Fresno State (Feb. 5) at the Stan Sheriff Center are winnable.

But the Rainbows must get back into the habit of controlling the glass if they're going to make any more headwy in the conference.

Hawaii finally broke a 10-game road losing streak with a 68-65 win against Rice on Thursday but suffered a 100-78 loss at 15th-ranked Tulsa on Saturday.

Hawaii was outrebounded badly in both games.

On Thursday, the Rainbows lost the battle off the glass, 37-27. On Saturday, Tulsa took it, 40-25.

Against Tulsa (18-1, 4-0 WAC), the Rainbows were blown off the offensive glass, 17-7.

"We did not compete with them at all on the boards down the stretch," said Wallace.

Wallace also wants to fine tune the defense.

"We haven't been good on defense since we started the WAC season," he said.

Saturday's loss was the first time that a Hawaii team has yielded 100 points since a 126-84 loss at TCU on Feb. 12, 1998.

"This is a good bunch of players and they'll bounce back for me," said Wallace.

"I wanted to make sure we played them (Tulsa) tough all the way. To at least show we can play with them."

Hawaii at least showed what it's capable of doing in spurts.

Down by 15 in the first half, the Rainbows cut it to seven at intermission.

Down by 11 early in the second half, Hawaii whittled it to a two-point game on a Nerijus Puida steal and layup with 14:03 to go.

The Rainbows lost their next two baskets to traveling calls and the Golden Hurricane then pulled away.

But Hawaii was not affected by Tulsa's pressure on the floor.

Wallace said that Tulsa head coach Bill Self told him that Hawaii's offense was the hardest the Golden Hurricane have had to cover because it did not let them get into their traps.

"We ran away from them and didn't allow them to trap us and we didn't throw it away on traps," said Wallace. "It was when we got impatient that we threw it away. The pressure didn't hurt us that much."

Self told the Tulsa World Saturday night: "I don't think we've played a team that really could keep us off balance defensively like this team could. They have great pressure releases, they spread the floor, and then they isolate you on the low blocks."

Wallace said he believes Hawaii can beat Tulsa here on Feb. 17.

"If we play as hard as we did Saturday for 40 minutes, not 30, then we can get them," he said.

WAC men

		Conference		Overall
		W	L	Pct.	W	L	 Pct.
Tulsa		4	0	1.000	18	1	 .947
SMU		4 	1	.800	16	3	 .842
Fresno State	2	1	.667	12	7	 .632
San Jose State	2	2	.500	1	8	 .579
Hawaii		2	3	.400	13	5	 .722
TCU		2	3	.400	11	10	 .524
UTEP		1	3	.250	10	7	 .588
Rice		0	4	.000	4	11	 .267
Today's game

Centenary at Tulsa


Rice at Fresno State
Tulsa at UTEP


San Jose State at Hawaii
Rice at UTEP
Tulsa at Fresno State

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