Rainbows tired of coming close
’Bows back on court to face Alcorn State
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The schedule leaves the Hawaii basketball team little time for dwelling on disappointment.
Having lost their first two games by a total of three points, the Rainbow Warriors return to the Stan Sheriff Center tonight to face Alcorn State. Tip-off is set for 8:05 p.m.
Both the Rainbows and Braves enter the game at 0-2. Where UH's losses to San Diego and Illinois have been by agonizingly close margins, Alcorn State lost to Southeastern Louisiana and Oklahoma by an average of 29 points.
UH senior Bobby Nash is coming off a 30-point effort in the Rainbows' 79-77 loss to Illinois last Friday and leads the Rainbows in scoring (26 points per game) and rebounding (7.0 boards per game). Alcorn State guard Troy Jackson leads the Braves at 14.5 points per game.
Tonight's meeting closes a three-game season-opening homestand for the Rainbows, who depart for their trip to New Mexico shortly after the buzzer sounds.
The game will follow the conclusion of the UH women's basketball team's Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic. UC Davis and Washington meet at 3 p.m. The Rainbow Wahine close the three-day tournament against Northern Arizona at 5 p.m.
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Playing the transition game has taken on added meaning for the Hawaii basketball team.
Less than 14 hours after the buzzer sounded on their second down-to-the-wire defeat of the young season, the Rainbow Warriors turned their focus from the disappointment of losing to Illinois to tonight's matchup with Alcorn State.
"We don't have time to think about that we're four points away from being 2-0," UH tri-captain Riley Luettgerodt said Friday night after the Rainbows dropped a 79-77 decision to the Illini. "We're ready to play."
The Rainbows host the Braves at 8:05 p.m., at the Stan Sheriff Center, with both teams looking to pull out of 0-2 starts.
It figures to be a hectic night for the 'Bows, as they'll go straight from the Sheriff Center to the airport to catch a flight to Albuquerque, N.M., in advance of Wednesday's game at New Mexico.
Prior to jetting off, they'll look for their first win of the season after losing a one-point game to San Diego on Nov. 9 and Friday's two-point heartbreaker against Illinois.
"When we left the locker room we said we put ourselves in position to win a game and just didn't get it done," UH coach Bob Nash said after yesterday afternoon's practice at Klum Gym. "Now we have to find a way to correct that, and we have another chance on Sunday. I don't think our guys are stuck in worrying about the last game."
Nash said having one day to prepare for Alcorn State will give the Rainbows a sense of the pace of the conference schedule.
"We want to test ourselves," he said. "We've got short turnarounds when we play in the WAC, so it's a test for us."
Bobby Nash led UH in scoring in both games and is coming off a career-best 30-point night against Illinois. Luettgerodt and Jared Dillinger also finished in double figures against the Illini. But with those three accounting for more than 70 percent of UH's scoring so far, Nash is looking for more contributions from the rest of the lineup.
"Our top three guys did a good job, but we have to get more production from our other guys offensively," Nash said.
Alcorn State's trip to Hawaii from Mississippi is part of an early-season schedule that has the Braves playing its first five games on the road. They opened the season with a 72-54 loss at Southeastern Louisiana and lost at Oklahoma 99-59 on Monday.
Sophomore point guard Troy Jackson has been the Braves' leading scorer at 14.5 points per game. Guard Richard Griffin averaged 10 points in two games for Alcorn State, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
"They like to push it," Nash said. "They like to spread you out and create mismatches and take guys off the dribble."
Gibson still out
Senior point guard and tri-captain Matt Gibson is eyeing a return to practice when the Rainbows return from their trip to New Mexico.
Gibson suffered a sprained ligament in his knee on Nov. 7 and hasn't practiced since. He won't accompany the team to Albuquerque for Wednesday's game with the Lobos. Nash said Gibson could start running tomorrow and a target date for a return to game action could be the Nov. 27 home date with Coppin State.
"He's not ready to go, and to put him on a plane wouldn't be good right now," Nash said. "So we'll keep him at home and let him get some treatment."