DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH's Julian Sensley grabbed a rebound over Michigan State's Goran Suton during Saturday's game at the Stan Sheriff Center.
’Bows take win on the road
Hawaii has to play at UNLV tomorrow after upsetting Michigan State
The Hawaii basketball team's opening act will be tough to follow.
Hawaii at UNLV
When: Tomorrow, 5:30 p.m. Hawaii time
Where: Thomas & Mack Center
TV: Live, pay-per-view Digital 255; re-broadcast at 9:30 p.m. on KFVE
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Barely 24 hours after closing out one of the biggest wins in the program's history with a convincing upset of No. 4 Michigan State, the Rainbows headed to Las Vegas for their first road game of the young season.
Though the thrill of the season-opening win remains fresh, the Rainbows (1-0) have quickly turned their focus toward a challenging test against UNLV (1-0) tomorrow at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"This is a big emotional win, but it's just one win," UH guard Matt Lojeski said after the Rainbows knocked off the Spartans. "Now we have to get focused on UNLV, because that's going to be just as tough. We beat a good team, we can celebrate, but now it's time to look forward to UNLV."
The Rainbows face the Runnin' Rebels just minutes from the famed Las Vegas Strip tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Hawaii time.
Tomorrow's game is the front end of a rare home-and-home series between the schools. UNLV visits the Stan Sheriff Center on Dec. 6. The schools have another series planned for next season as well.
Though it'll be UH's first road game of the season, playing in Las Vegas does offer the 'Bows some of the comforts of home.
"We'll stay at the California Hotel. They dress in aloha (wear), they serve Hawaiian food, they know everything about you, and everybody from Hawaii will be there. So it's like a home game," UH coach Riley Wallace said.
"The whole day long you've got people talking to you about the game, so you're more ready to play."
UH last played UNLV in the first round of the 2003 National Invitation Tournament and ran past the Rebels for an 85-68 victory in Las Vegas.
Still, the road hasn't been kind to UH recently, as the Rainbows are 10-26 away from the Sheriff Center over the last three seasons and were 2-8 in road games last season.
"We definitely have to put (the Michigan State win) behind us," guard Matt Gibson said after contributing eight points off the bench against the Spartans. "We saw last year that the road is the toughest thing, flying 5 hours then getting up and practicing. We'll have to get ready."
UH certainly showed it was ready to play on Saturday in blowing past a highly touted Michigan State team for an 84-62 win.
Wallace said the team's preparation for an up-tempo Michigan State attack will have some carry-over as the 'Bows gear up for a UNLV team that opened its season with a 108-73 rout of Long Beach State on Friday.
"It'll be a lot of the same stuff and they'll push it up and down," Wallace said.
Hawaii's depth helped UH maintain a quick pace on Saturday as eight Rainbows played at least 14 minutes, and none was on the floor more than 33 minutes. They shot nearly 46 percent and forced the Spartans into 17 turnovers.
The Rainbows were able to pull away from the Spartans in the second half while resting forward Julian Sensley, who tied for the team lead with 20 points.
"We have so many weapons on this team," Sensley said. "Coach has a lot of faith in everybody, down to the 12th man. It doesn't matter who's out there -- everybody's giving 110 percent."
UNLV, a former Western Athletic Conference member, is in its second season under coach Lon Krueger.
Krueger had successful stops at Kansas State, Florida and Illinois before a four-year stint with the Atlanta Hawks. He returned to the college game last season and guided UNLV to a 17-14 record and a fourth straight NIT appearance.
The Rebels return eight players off last year's team and were picked third in the preseason Mountain West Conference media poll.
Guard Michael Umeh led the Rebels with 21 points and Ricky Morgan added 19 in the win over LBSU on Friday. Louis Amundson, a 6-9 forward, anchors the front court and had 12 points in the opener.
Ticket sales extended: In the wake of the Rainbows' win over Michigan State, the UH athletic department is extending season-ticket sales through Saturday's home game against Saint Louis.
Prices for upper-level seats are $200 for adults, $89 for students ages 4 through high school, and $59 for UH students with valid ID.
Packages can be purchased at the Stan Sheriff Center ticket office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by phone at 944-2697. Tickets are not available on the Internet.
On the tube: Tomorrow's game will be televised locally on a pay-per-view basis on digital channel 255 and will be re-broadcast at 9:30 p.m on KFVE.
Saturday's game against Saint Louis will also be a pay-per-view event.