Hawaii, Boise coming off heartbreakers
It'll be a meeting of the broken-hearts club today when Hawaii and Boise State get together.
Hawaii at Boise State
When: Today, 4:05 p.m. Hawaii time
Where: Taco Bell Arena
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Both the Rainbow Warriors and Broncos suffered one-point losses on Thursday, the decisive scores coming in the final seconds in both games, leaving them to take their frustrations out on each other in a Western Athletic Conference game at a sold-out Taco Bell Arena.
"They're at home and they've got a big crowd," Hawaii coach Riley Wallace said. "But we practiced good (yesterday) as we always do -- we just have to get better defensively.
"These are college kids, they forget in a hurry once the game starts."
Hawaii enters the game at 10-8 overall and 1-4 in the WAC following a deflating 76-75 loss at Idaho on Thursday. Boise State (8-8, 2-3) returned home after an equally frustrating 80-79 defeat at Utah State.
Close hasn't been good enough for the Rainbows lately. Their last three losses have come by a total of six points, sending them to their worst league start since 1999.
The latest stung deeper than most, as Idaho's Clyde Johnson hit a 3-pointer in the final second on Thursday to give Idaho only its second WAC win since joining the league last season.
"As long as they keep working and trying to improve we'll keep working with them," Wallace said. "They just need to accept the challenge defensively. We just don't have a stopper on the floor right now.
"You have to look at every ballgame as critical and you have to improve each ballgame so when it comes time for the tournament you've still got a chance to do something. But it's a long way from over."
Boise State's angst level probably rivaled Hawaii's after blowing a nine-point lead in the final 1:20 at Utah State. The Aggies ended on a 10-0 run, taking the lead for good when Chaz Spicer converted a three-point play with 7.4 seconds left.
As luck (or lack thereof) would have it, the Rainbows' visit coincides with a day of festivities honoring Boise State's football team. A parade is scheduled before the game with the WAC and Tostitos Fiesta Bowl champs being recognized at halftime. And the sellout crowd should buoy the basketball Broncos' spirits.
To overcome the big crowd and extend a three-game winning streak against Boise State, the Rainbows will look to continue sharing the wealth on offense while trying to limit the Broncos' fast-paced attack.
The backcourt duel between Hawaii guard Matt Lojeski (17.6 points per game) and Boise State's Coby Karl (16.1 ppg) will be a highlighted matchup.
The Broncos have added firepower inside with junior forwards Matt Nelson (14.2 points, 8.9 rebounds per game) and Reggie Larry (13.8, 8.0).
Rainbow forward Ahmet Gueye has boosted his production in the last two games. He followed up a 20-point night against Nevada with 15 at Idaho and grabbed 14 rebounds in both contests.