Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, December 16, 2001



Hawaii hopes to start
closing out games

By Cindy Luis

Haim Shimonovich walked alone to his motor scooter parked outside the Stan Sheriff Center. The sophomore center for the Hawaii men's basketball team seemed oblivious to the cold drizzle that greeted him after Friday night's 61-58 loss to San Diego State.

"We have to be more consistent, play two consistent halves," Shimonovich said. "We lost another big lead. We can't keep doing that."

He shook his head, not sure how he and the Rainbows were going to solve the problem that had cost Hawaii an undefeated season. Both of the team's losses this year have come after Hawaii appeared to have had the game in hand.

They blew a 16-point lead against Colorado State in Hilo three weeks ago, and had a 13-point cushion evaporate against San Diego State on Friday. The Hawaii players know what's wrong; they had yesterday off to think about it before hitting the gym again this afternoon.

"We have to learn to take the way we practice into the game," said senior guard Mike McIntyre, whose open 3-point shot to tie hit the rim and bounced away at the buzzer.

"We got careless in the second half," added sophomore guard Carl English, who committed six of the season-high 18 turnovers. "We didn't execute and took some bad shots.

"It's a generous offense; we look to pass first. But we took some quick shots that we shouldn't have. We're still getting used to playing with each other."

Hawaii (6-2) has used three different lineups this season, two in the last two games, as the Rainbows try to get six newcomers used to their Division I style of ball. Junior point guard Mark Campbell is still learning the offense, McIntyre missed Monday's game with an injury, junior transfer Luc-Arthur Vebobe became eligible Monday and the team got leading scorer Predrag Savovic back Friday.

"I thought that, with Savo back, we'd turn it up a notch," said Hawaii coach Riley Wallace. "We didn't.

"The turnovers are a concern. We were at 13 to 14 a game to start but now we've had 23 and 18 the last two games."

Wallace is also concerned with the scoring lulls his team has gone through. Friday, the Rainbows went more than six minutes without a field goal and the Aztecs turned a 45-40 deficit into a 54-49 lead.

The assist-to-basket ratio continues to be very good. But the assist-to-turnover ratio wasn't good Friday; Hawaii had 11 assists on 17 field goals to 18 turnovers.

There's also a problem with outside shooting. The Rainbows didn't hit a trey in four attempts Monday; they were 1-for-12 Friday, with Savovic hitting the only one with 2:20 left in the game.

English and Shimonovich continue to be the most consistent for Hawaii from the floor. The two combined to shoot 12-for-20 while the rest of the team was 5 of 34.

Taking better care of the ball is also a priority during the next few days as the team prepares for its Rainbow Classic opener against Portland. The Rainbows had been hoping for a title showdown with No. 11 Boston College next Saturday; now they are hoping to avoid the consolation bracket with a win over the Pilots.

"We shouldn't have a problem getting them up for the Rainbow (Classic)," said Wallace. "But we still have a lot to work on."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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