’Bows leave frustrated
Through some early-season ups and downs, Riley Wallace often praised the resilience of the Hawaii basketball team.
It's an attribute the Rainbow Warriors will have to tap into again this week as they head back on the road after letting an opportunity to knock off a nationally ranked opponent slip through their grasp.
The 'Bows (10-7, 1-3 Western Athletic Conference) have yet to win on an opponent's home floor this season and will try to leave the disappointment of Saturday's 68-66 overtime loss to Nevada back in Manoa as they depart this morning for a trip to Idaho and Boise State.
The Rainbows take on the Vandals (2-13, 0-3) on Thursday and continue on to play the Broncos (8-7, 2-2) on Saturday.
"We just need to find a way to focus, concentrate, execute better. All the fundamental stuff," said UH guard Matt Lojeski, barely containing his frustration after Saturday's game.
The Rainbows lost both games on their first WAC road trip of the season and had a chance to even their conference record with a sweep of a tough homestand last week. They took care of the front end with an impressive win over Fresno State and appeared poised to pull off an upset of No. 19 Nevada.
But the Wolf Pack drove to the basket for clutch scores in the final minute of both regulation and overtime, while the Rainbows bogged down and were hampered by miscues and miscommunication in the last seconds to fall to 17-95 all-time against ranked opponents.
"This team knows they gave one away to a good team that worked hard against us, but we had every chance to win it," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "We've got to get our heads up and get back at it on Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready."
Hawaii enters the trip tied with San Jose State for seventh place in the WAC standings, three games behind co-leaders Nevada and New Mexico State, both 4-0.
The team's travel itinerary will have the 'Bows playing hopscotch up the West Coast today. They're scheduled to fly to San Francisco this morning, then make connections in Seattle and Spokane before taking a bus to Moscow, Idaho, where they face the Vandals on Thursday.
Idaho has struggled under first-year coach George Pfeifer and is the only team without a conference win so far. The Vandals threatened to upset New Mexico State before losing 61-56 last Thursday. Hawaii actually will get into Moscow ahead of the Vandals, who play at Utah State tonight.
Hawaii swept both Idaho and Boise State last season and has won its last three meetings with the Broncos, who also lost a tight game -- to NMSU -- on Saturday.
"It's not an easy trip, none of them are in the WAC," Wallace said. "I watched the Boise game -- they're a very good basketball team, I thought they should have beaten New Mexico State. ... Idaho's just playing good enough to get beat in close ballgames so I'm sure they think they can beat Hawaii when we come in there."
Though the 'Bows left the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday vexed by the squandered opportunity, they vowed to bounce back, again.
"I just want to say it's still early in the season, it's still early in the WAC," guard Dominic Waters said. "It's a very balanced league, it's a very competitive league. So don't give up on us, we're still headstrong, we've got a good corps of guys and we will recover."