RAINBOW WARRIOR BASKETBALL
There's no rest for the weary Rainbows
Hawaii practices today for tomorrow's game against Idaho after leaving Utah yesterday
The schedule says Hawaii will be the home team in tomorrow's Western Athletic Conference game against Idaho.
But in some respects, the Rainbow Warriors are still living the life of a road team.
The Rainbows (10-8, 4-4 WAC) will be back at the Stan Sheriff Center to face the Vandals (3-15, 0-7) following a rough trip to Nevada and Utah State.
UH VS. IDAHO
When: Tomorrow, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: Live, KFVE (Ch. 5)
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Internet: audio, Sportsradio1420.com; video, hawaiiantelmedia.com
Tickets: $22 (lower level-single seats only), $18 (upper level-adult), $5 (upper-students), $3 (upper-UH students), $5 (Super Rooter/Manoa Maniacs)
The team rolled out of Logan, Utah, at 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning and landed in Honolulu late in the afternoon. After a night's rest, the 'Bows have only today's practice and an hour-long shootaround tomorrow to prepare for their first WAC meeting against the Vandals.
"Having a Monday game, then a Thursday game and you have a travel day on Tuesday, it doesn't give you a whole lot of time to put in their scouting information," said UH associate coach Bob Nash, who spent last night reviewing Idaho's game tapes to have a scouting report ready by today's 3 p.m. workout.
"But when you've got a good scout team, you can count on those guys to pick it up."
The Rainbows will try to get their body clocks back on Hawaii time in time for tomorrow's 7 p.m. tip-off. It's the first
of just three home games in February for the Rainbows.
Idaho, which played at Fresno State on Monday, actually beat the Rainbows into town yesterday and held practice at the Sheriff Center last night.
But Idaho coach Leonard Perry doesn't view the extra practice time as much of an advantage and has bigger concerns than the Rainbows' travel itinerary.
"Anytime you've got a 7-footer (Chris Botez) coming off the bench and they're starting a 6-9 guy in (Julian) Sensley on the perimeter, nothing's ever even," Perry said. "I don't think the travel's going to have anything to do with it."
After dropping two road games, Hawaii enters the second half of the WAC schedule three games out of the lead and tied with Fresno State for fifth place.
Both teams played road games on Monday before flying into Honolulu yesterday. Idaho lost at Fresno State 89-54 a couple of hours before UH dropped its sixth road game of the season, 63-52 at Utah State.
The Rainbows started slow against Utah State and fell behind by 20 early in the second half. They fought back to get back within seven points with 9:40 left, but could get no closer.
"Their pride was at stake and we came back and we just couldn't get over the hump," Nash said. "But I thought it showed a lot of character for our team never to give up."
Tomorrow's game is the first meeting between Hawaii and Idaho since 1987, and the Vandals have won all six previous matchups.
The last meeting resulted in an 83-82 Vandals victory in double overtime in Riley Wallace's fifth game as UH head coach.
The current Rainbows take on an Idaho team that has lost nine straight and is still looking for its first win as a WAC member.
Like Hawaii, Idaho hasn't fared well away from home. The Vandals are 0-8 outside of Moscow, Idaho, this season and have lost 11 straight road games.
Idaho hasn't won since Dec. 21, when they edged North Dakota State 76-71. Their loss on Monday was the program's worst since the 2000-01 season.
Despite the struggles, the Vandals have been able to stay united in their first season in the WAC.
"It's a great group of kids and they work really hard together," Perry said. "They never stopped believing and that's a tribute to their character.
"On some teams, having gone through what we've gone through, you'd have the finger-pointing, guys quitting and all that. These guys won't allow that."
Idaho ranks last in the conference in scoring at 59.9 points per game and has lost its conference games by an average of 17 points.
The Vandals start a three-guard lineup led by 5-foot-11 senior Tanoris Shepard. He leads the Vandals at 15.2 ppg and has scored in double figures in every game this season.
"He's our warrior, he's our leader," Perry said.
Shepard is one of just two seniors on the roster and the only starter who played for the Vandals last season. Junior guards Keoni Watson (5-10) and Brett Ledbetter (6-3) are junior college transfers and forward David Dubois (6-5) is a true freshman. Junior forward Desmond Nwoke (6-9) redshirted last year while recovering from an automobile accident.