GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii guard Matt Gibson scored 20 points in Thursday's win over New Mexico State.
’Bows lose another big man
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An already thin Hawaii rotation will be down to nine when the Rainbow Warriors face Louisiana Tech tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Who: Louisiana Tech at Hawaii
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
TV: KFVE, Ch. 5
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
Forward P.J. Owsley, the team's tallest starter, didn't practice yesterday after suffering an injury to his right knee during Thursday's win over New Mexico State and will miss tonight's game. Owsley went down early in the second half of the 91-74 victory and had to be helped from the floor. UH coach Bob Nash said there's a possibility Owsley could be back for next week's game at Nevada.
"His health is our most important concern right now," Nash said. "We'll play it by ear until the doctors tell us that he can go."
Nash said after the NMSU game that Owsley's knee cap "popped a little bit," and the senior will have an MRI on Monday to make sure there isn't more damage.
With Owsley out, 6-foot-9 sophomore Bill Amis returns to the starting frontcourt. Sophomore Paul Campbell, who contributed key minutes on Thursday, and senior Alex Veit could also play more significant roles.
Owsley worked through a calf injury early in the season and had started the last 10 games in the post after center Stephen Verwers suffered a broken leg on Christmas Day. The 6-8 senior is averaging 4.4 points and 3 rebounds per game.
The Rainbows (9-11 overall, 5-3 Western Athletic Conference) are coming off their highest scoring game since 2003. They close their homestand against a Louisiana Tech team that enters the game at 3-15 overall and 0-6 in WAC play.
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Teams often talk about having a short memory following a loss. That principle could also apply in the wake of a big win for the Hawaii basketball team.
Coming off their most impressive performance of the season, the Rainbow Warriors had a day to reset their focus on tonight's Western Athletic Conference game against Louisiana Tech.
"That was yesterday, today's another day," Hawaii coach Bob Nash said less than 24 hours after a 94-71 win over New Mexico State in which the team posted its highest point total since 2003.
"What we talked about in our meeting is we still have to be professional. You're going to have highs and you're going to have lows, but we have come out and be consistent in everything we do offensively and defensively."
Hawaii (9-11, 5-3 WAC) opens the second half of the WAC schedule against a Louisiana Tech team still searching for its first league win under rookie head coach Kerry Rupp. Tip-off at the Stan Sheriff Center is 7:05 p.m.
The Rainbows have won four of their last five and enter the game tied with New Mexico State for fourth place in the conference, but just a game behind Utah State and Boise State for first place. Nevada is a half-game behind the leaders.
The Rainbows will be without senior forward P.J. Owsley, who suffered a knee injury in the second half of Thursday's game.
The injury means a return to the starting five for sophomore Bill Amis. He started 11 games earlier this season. Sophomore Paul Campbell and senior Alex Veit could also play more prominent roles in the rotation.
"Everybody has to step up and play together and play really smart as far as posts go because that's five less fouls we're going to have," Amis said.
"I'm going to have to work harder before they get the ball to prevent getting fouls. It's all going to happen before the post catches it."
Both teams will have short benches, with only nine players available for each, and are led by Gibsons in the backcourt -- Hawaii's Matt and LaTech's Kyle.
Matt Gibson is coming off one of the finest games of his career, scoring 20 points while dishing out 11 assists against New Mexico State. The senior has moved into sixth place in the WAC with 16.8 points per game.
Kyle Gibson, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, leads the Bulldogs at 15.5 ppg and is their top rebounder at 5.8 rebounds per game.
The Bulldogs (3-15, 0-6) are last in the league in scoring margin, giving up 11.8 points more than they score in WAC games. They also rank ninth in shooting at 39.6 percent, while WAC opponents have shot 51.2 percent against them.
Still, Rupp has been pleased with the team's attitude through the struggles.
"We know we're going to go through some tough times and every day is a new challenge and we just want to make sure we embrace it, stay together as a team and keep trying to move forward," Rupp said. "Just like anything in life, you're going to have setbacks and tough times and it's how you handle those things."