’Bows put lost Classic in past
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After a rough week in the Rainbow Classic, the Hawaii basketball team won't get much of a Christmas break.
Coming off a last-place showing in the tournament, the Rainbow Warriors will try to regroup over the holiday with New Mexico -- which handed them their worst loss of the season -- visiting the Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday.
The Lobos (11-2) hung a 29-point loss on UH in November and comes to Hawaii riding a four-game winning streak after beating Weber State 62-32 yesterday in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Rainbows' homestand ends Sunday against Centenary, which has a win over Texas Tech this season, before they go on the road to start Western Athletic Conference play.
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The Christmas holiday won't be a time of rest for the Hawaii basketball team.
The Rainbow Warriors will return to practice today to shake off the hangover following a lost weekend in their signature tournament, and they'll work through the holiday in preparation for their final two games of 2007.
The Rainbows (3-7), coming off a last-place showing in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, host the Lobos on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center in the back end of a home-and-home series.
They'll then close out the calendar year by taking on Centenary on Sunday before heading on the road to start their Western Athletic Conference schedule.
"We have two teams we get a chance to play before we go into conference to get everybody back on the same page, to build some momentum, to get some rhythm going into conference play," UH coach Bob Nash said.
The disappointment of the Rainbow Classic left the team searching for positives to build on as the Rainbows looked ahead to facing a New Mexico team that handed them their most lopsided loss of the season, a 29-point defeat at The Pit in Albuquerque on Nov. 21.
Their second-half surge in Saturday's 67-59 loss to Georgia in the Classic's seventh-place game might be a place to start.
The Rainbows fell behind by 21 before fighting back to cut the margin to five in the final minute before having their comeback fall short.
"The thing I want to take away from this," Nash said, "is if we can play every game from this point forward the way we played in the last part of the game with that kind of pressure defense, with that kind of intensity, with that kind of organization, we have a very good chance to be successful in our conference."
But as evidenced by last week's games, consistency has been elusive for the Rainbows through their first 10 games.
They struggled through an opening-round loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, then responded with verve against St. John's until miscues down the stretch contributed to another loss. They closed the week with the disparate first- and second-half performances in the seventh-place game.
"If we can prolong that second half for the remainder of the season, we'll be OK," senior Bobby Nash said.
Hawaii will use the next few days to try to locate its shooting touch. The Rainbows made eight of 48 3-point attempts over the three games to drop to 29.6 percent for the season.
"We're not shooting that great right now, but shooters shoot, that's what they do," guard Matt Gibson said. "That's probably the best thing we can do over the break, just get in the gym and get our shots back and get our legs back healthy and get ready for New Mexico."
Nash said there wouldn't be a carryover from the locker-room incident that landed Gibson on the bench for the first half of the game against Georgia.
"That's done with," Nash said. "We addressed that issue in our locker room with our team and everything is fine. There is no problem."
This year's Rainbow Classic field provided a competitive weekend of basketball. Of 12 games, just two were decided by double-figure margins. Four came down to one or two points, and there was one overtime game. The average margin of victory was 7.4 points.