Utah State’s Carroll gives Lojeski a load to bear
Hawaii's top scorer will be asked to hold down the conference's best shooter tomorrow
Matt Lojeski is anticipating being pretty winded by the end of tomorrow's game with Utah State.
Hawaii vs. Utah State
When: Tomorrow, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: KFVE-TV, Ch. 5
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Tickets: $3-$26 Parking: $3
Lojeski shadowed Aggies guard Jaycee Carroll twice last season, and the Hawaii senior will likely draw the assignment of tracking the Western Athletic Conference's leading scorer again when Utah State visits the Stan Sheriff Center.
"It's tough, it's very tiring," Lojeski said. "It's easy to stick with him for 5 or 10 minutes, but then he's still going at the same speed the whole time, running around picks continously.
"He's a very good guard, they realize he's a very good shooter and they really work at getting him open."
Tip-off for the game between the Rainbows (11-9, 2-5 WAC) and Aggies (15-6, 4-3) is set for 7:05 p.m.
While Hawaii looks to creep up the WAC standings after a slow start, Utah State will try to keep pace with the conference leaders. The Aggies had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 79-62 loss at WAC co-leader Nevada last night in Reno.
While Lojeski gears up for the challenge of covering Carroll, he'll have a new partner in the starting backcourt tomorrow. UH coach Riley Wallace said sophomore Dominic Waters will start at point guard in place of Matt Gibson, who had an unexcused absence from practice yesterday. Gibson is expected to be back for this afternoon's workout, but won't start against Utah State.
They've split time at point guard this season, though it'll be a role reversal for the duo. Gibson (9.1 points per game) has started all 20 games with Waters (7.5 ppg) relieving him.
Hawaii's backcourt will be tested by Carroll, whose high-energy game had him atop the WAC with 21.1 points per game and who was the Aggies' top rebounder entering the weekend. His average dropped to 20.8 with a 15-point effort last night.
"He's the Energizer bunny," Wallace said. "He's a highly, highly conditioned athlete.
"He's a workout freak just to stay in top shape to play the game he wants to play."
Lojeski isn't in shabby shape himself. The Rainbows' top scorer (17.2 ppg) averages a league-high 35.2 minutes per game. Carroll is second at 34.5.
Carroll and Lojeski own the top shooting percentages among WAC guards. Carroll enters the game at 54.9 percent, with Lojeski just behind at 54 percent. Carroll has been near automatic from the free-throw line at 91 percent (86-for-94).
The 6-foot-6 Lojeski used his height advantage to hound the 6-2 Carroll in UH's 69-59 win over Utah State last season in Honolulu, limiting him to 5-for-14 shooting. The Aggies got revenge later in the season with a 63-52 victory in Logan and advanced to the WAC tournament championship game in their first season in the conference.
The Rainbows expect to see some familiar sets from the Aggies, as Wallace and Utah State coach Stew Morrill run several of the same plays in their motion offenses.
While Carroll paces Utah State, forwards Durrall Peterson, Stephen DuCharme and Chaz Spicer provide production in the paint.
The Rainbows hope Utah State's travel schedule takes some of the spring out of the Aggies' legs. The Aggies played at Nevada last night and were scheduled to arrive here this afternoon. Hawaii, meanwhile, has had three days to recharge and prepare for the Aggies since frolicking to a 72-52 win over San Jose State last Thursday.
On the go: Tomorrow's game starts a hectic week for the Rainbows. They depart Tuesday morning for a road trip to Fresno State and Nevada to begin their second time through the conference. They play Fresno State on Thursday and Nevada on Saturday in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.
Off the air: The WAC scheduled several Monday games this season in anticipation of being part of ESPN's Big Monday lineup. But the conference wasn't included in the schedule after negotiations between the WAC and ESPN on a contract extension broke down last summer.
Saturday's game at Nevada is one of just two WAC regular-season games scheduled to be shown by ESPN.
Promotions: Members of the UH faculty and staff receive two tickets for the price of one, with a maximum of eight. ... The first 2,000 fans receive a basketball stress ball.