Hawaii knows where it stands
It's simple for the 'Bows now -- win one on the road
For the Hawaii basketball team to challenge for a conference title and a postseason berth, the Rainbow Warriors will have to find a way to reverse their fortunes on the road -- and quickly.
UH at Boise State
When: Today, 11 a.m.
Where: Taco Bell Arena
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Internet: audio, Sportsradio1420.com; video, WACsports.com
"We're down to seven (games) and counting going into the (Western Athletic Conference) tournament," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "If you win the rest of the home games and lose the rest on the road you're going to sit home with nothing. Not NIT, not NCAA."
Hawaii (12-8, 6-4 WAC), which has won all of its WAC home games while losing all of their road games, plays its next four conference games on the mainland starting with today's game at Boise State (12-10, 5-6). How the 'Bows fare over that span will determine whether they'll hang with the leaders or drop out of contention.
"We just have to leave it all out there," said UH senior Julian Sensley. "You don't want to leave the University of Hawaii feeling like you could have done more."
The Rainbows face the Broncos at BSU's Taco Bell Arena today at 11 a.m. Hawaii time, then play at Fresno State on Monday before returning home.
The trip didn't exactly get off to a rousing start as the 'Bows got into Boise a day later than they planned due to a problem with their connecting flight from San Francisco on Wednesday. After spending a night in Seattle, they arrived in town on Thursday and have practiced the last two mornings at a local YMCA. They also had a light evening workout to get adjusted to shooting in Taco Bell Arena.
The coaching staff adjusted the practice schedule to prepare for today's early tip-off.
"We wanted them on a morning schedule because they have to do that for the game," Wallace said after yesterday's 10 a.m. Mountain time workout. "Today they had energy and got after it pretty good."
The Rainbows have been searching for the formula to winning on the road all season, most recently at Nevada and Utah State, and will take another shot at breaking their mainland losing streak -- now at 10 straight games -- against a Boise State team coming off a loss at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday.
"I was watching film (of UH's losses at Utah State and Nevada last month), and it wasn't that we weren't playing hard," said Sensley, who has led UH in scoring in six of the last seven games, averaging 20.3 points over that span.
"We were playing hard but we weren't getting rebounds, we weren't getting loose balls and when you're forced to play defense for three straight possessions you get tired. We've got to go mentally prepared."
Hawaii defeated Fresno State and Boise State in Honolulu last month thanks to spirited defensive efforts. UH unveiled a rarely used zone defense to bait Fresno State into taking 37 3-pointers in a 73-65 win on Jan. 21. Two nights later, they reverted to a man-to-man look to limit BSU to 35 percent shooting.
UH guard Matt Lojeski hounded Boise State's Coby Karl most of the night and helped hold the Broncos' leading scorer (17.1 ppg) to 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting. Lojeski will draw the same assignment today as UH tries to slow down a Broncos' running game that torched the 'Bows in their visit to Boise last season. BSU jumped out to a 20-point lead before UH rallied and eventually lost 80-76.
"Last year when we played them they really pushed the tempo," UH guard Deonte Tatum said. "I just think we have to be ready to play and enjoy it. I think if we go out there and have fun and play with a lot of energy I think we'll be fine."
Notes: UH's final two regular-season road trips will be broken up by a nonconference game at home against Santa Clara on Feb. 18. UH plays at Idaho on Feb. 22 and San Jose State on Feb. 25. ... Fresno State (11-10, 4-6) plays San Jose State today prior to welcoming UH to the Save Mart Center on Monday. The Bulldogs are coming off an 0-2 road trip against Boise State and Idaho, which was previously winless in WAC play.