CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii sophomore forward Paul Campbell looked for the hoop as Matt Gibson defended in a scrimmage yesterday.
UH’s newcomers give seniors a game
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There's still much for the Hawaii basketball team's newcomers to learn. But based on the team's scrimmage yesterday, the Rainbow Warrior youngsters are proving to be quick studies.
With a previously little-used senior leading the way, the freshmen and sophomores held their own against the returnees in the scrimmage eventually won by the seniors.
"I just wanted to see where the young guys were," UH head coach Bob Nash said. "Could they work together, could they understand the plays. Based on what we saw today, we have some guys who can come in and contribute right away."
Riley Luettgerodt paced the senior-powered White team to an 85-78 win with 21 points, while Matt Gibson finished with 17 and Bobby Nash 15.
Senior Jared Dillinger played in just six games last season, but led the Green team with 23 points in the 40-minute scrimmage at UH's Gym II. The Green also got solid performances from freshman guard Kareem Nitoto and sophomore forwards Adhar Mayen, Bill Amis and Paul Campbell.
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After a week of introduction and instruction, Hawaii basketball coach Bob Nash threw a test at the Rainbow Warrior newcomers yesterday.
For the team's first scrimmage since formally opening practice, Nash divided the team along class lines, putting most of the seniors in white and a team made primarily of first-year players in green.
The youngsters -- led by an unheralded returnee -- eventually saw an early lead turn into an 85-78 loss in the 40-minute scrimmage, but impressed Nash with their execution against the vets.
"I thought it showed that the group we had in green was a little bit further along than I anticipated in terms of learning the plays and working together," Nash said. "They came out on a mission and played well for the first half ... challenged the white team. (The seniors) responded in the second half and their experience took over."
The scrimmage provided a measuring point following the first week of practice and less than three weeks away from the Nov. 9 opener against San Diego.
"Obviously we still have a lot of stuff we have to put in and shore up a lot of defensive things," Nash said. "I think it points in the right direction."
After seeing the young guys race out to a 15-2 lead and take an eight-point edge into halftime, the seniors came back behind a team-high 21 points and seven assists from Riley Luettgerodt. Matt Gibson scored 17 points before fouling out and Bobby Nash added 15 points.
Senior Jared Dillinger, who scored one point in six appearances last season, was assigned to the Green team and led the Rainbows with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting.
"He's a guy who hasn't played a lot, so it's like being new, and he showed some leadership on that Green team," Nash said.
Sophomore forward Adhar Mayen scored 20 before being sidelined with a cramp in his leg. Forward Bill Amis had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman guard Kareem Nitoto finished with 10 points and eight assists. Sophomore forward Paul Campbell posted 10 points and nine boards and blocked three shots.
"They played amazing," Bobby Nash said. "Coach (Jackson) Wheeler had them excited to play, they were running the offense and they knew what they were doing. They looked like they were veterans out there."
Said Nitoto: "The first week we were shaky with it, but we're like sponges and we're just picking up everything."
Although Dillinger is entering his third year with the program, he looked like a different player yesterday. He showed off a smooth shooting stroke in hitting seven of his eight shots in the first half as he makes a case for an increased role in his senior season. He also hit four of six from 3-point range in the game.
"I'm just doing whatever the coaches are asking me to do," Dillinger said. "If they want me to shoot more I'll shoot more, play defense, be a spark for the team."