Rainbows’ Lojeski builds all-around game
Matt Lojeski's points haven't been coming in 3s early this season, but the senior remains a triple threat for the Hawaii basketball team.
Lojeski has made only one of 10 shots behind the 3-point line in UH's first two games, but has found other ways to score while filling the stat sheet with rebounds and assists as well.
He posted a career-high 23 points in a win over Coppin State despite going 1-for-5 from 3-point range and enters Sunday's game against Oregon State at the Stan Sheriff Center averaging eight rebounds and seven assists.
While he's trying to find a groove from long range, Lojeski is 11-for-16 closer to the basket. Along with the lone trey that fell against Coppin State on Monday night, he made all eight of his shots in the paint.
"I don't just want to be reliant on my jump shot every night," Lojeski said. "So I'm trying to find ways to help the team. I made one jumper and had my career high."
His rebound and assist rates also brought him within shouting distance of recording the program's first triple-double. He finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and a career-best eight assists on Monday. He had nine points, nine boards and six assists in the season-opening loss at UNLV.
"I thought about that after the (Coppin State) game, that would be nice," Lojeski said. "But I'm not really about self accomplishments or anything like that. It's all about winning and whatever happens, happens."
His 6-foot-6 frame gives him an edge on the boards when matched up with smaller guards, and his familiarity with the system has helped with the assist totals.
"I kind of focused on rebounds," Lojeski said. "Assists you can't really control, guys have to hit shots in order to get that, so that's the hardest out of the three."
Hawaii head coach Riley Wallace said Lojeski's progress reminds him of the adjustment former Rainbow Michael Kuebler made as a senior after joining the program as primarily a perimeter scorer.
"(Kuebler) learned the offense and knew they weren't going to give him jump shots all the time," Wallace said. "But yet to have to help the team, so he took the ball to the hole, rebounded, played tough defense and did all the things his second year that he didn't do quite as well his first year. (Lojeski) seems to have that same kind of attitude."
Lojeski led the Rainbows and ranked fifth in the Western Athletic Conference with 56 3-pointers last season, and remains confident that his shots from outside will start dropping soon.
"I'm just tensing up," he said. "I'm not really worried about it. I've been working on it outside of practice."
Red returns: Former UH head coach and Oregon State alum Red Rocha is expected to attend Sunday's game.
Rocha, who lives in Corvallis, is a member of the UH Circle of Honor and is featured in the "Beaver Legends" section in Oregon State's media guide for his accomplishments as a player from 1945 to '47. He coached at UH from 1963 to '73, guiding the "Fabulous Five" teams from 1970 to '72.
Short shots: Sunday's game tips off at 5:05 p.m. ... The first 8,000 fans at Sunday's game will receive rally towels provided by Oceanic Time Warner Cable.