Rainbows put Fresno in rearview mirror
It doesn't have quite the same ring, but the sentiment remains for the Hawaii basketball team.
What happens in Fresno, stays in Fresno.
Coming off a deflating Western Athletic Conference loss in California's central valley on Wednesday, the Hawaii basketball team took a bus ride south for today's game against UC Riverside looking to leave behind the disappointment of seeing seven-point lead dissolve into a 70-65 defeat to Fresno State.
"I think we understand that we let a golden opportunity at Fresno slip away," Hawaii coach Bob Nash said. "But like we talked about (Thursday) before practice, there's nothing we can do about that now. We just have to move forward and try to get the next one.
"We've put Fresno behind and now we're concentrating on Riverside."
The Rainbows (11-13) face the Highlanders (6-17) of the Big West Conference today at 3 p.m. Hawaii time at the UCR Student Recreation Center as part of O'Reilly's/ESPNU BracketBusters weekend.
The game isn't technically part of BracketBusters since it's not one of the nationally televised games picked for the ESPN package and doesn't carry conference implications. But it does present a chance for the Rainbows to get back on a positive roll heading into their final homestand of the season.
The Highlanders have struggled under first-year coach Jim Woolridge, but are coming off an 85-76 home win over UC Irvine on Wednesday in which they shot 58 percent from the field.
"They got a good win the other night and they're going to try to ride that momentum," Nash said "We just have to come in and be very professional in our approach and get a win for ourselves so we can keep moving forward."
The Highlanders, 6-4 at home this season, are led by their lone senior. Guard Larry Cunningham leads a four-guard lineup as the only UCR player averaging double-figure scoring at 15.1 points per game.
The Rainbows will have an overall size advantage considering UCR has one starter taller than 6-foot-4. All five UH starters are at least 6-5.
Riley Luettgerodt has picked up his production of late for the Rainbows, averaging 15 points, 6.5 rebounds and six assists in the last two games, falling three assists short of the program's first triple-double against Fresno State.
The Rainbows have participated in BracketBusters since its inception six years ago. They played on the road the first two years of the event, stayed home the next two years and have had road games the last two seasons. They won at Long Beach State last year to improve to 3-2 in BracketBusters-related games.
While the WAC's participation in the event opens the possibility for national exposure, Nash isn't a fan of having to spend some extra time on the road.
"My only concern about it is the amount of class time we miss for this game," he said. "We have to go on the road for a WAC game and now we have to stay on the road three extra days for this game. It's not like we don't travel enough as it is.
"Having said that, I think it's also important that the conference has some visibility and this is one way of getting visibility on ESPN. ... That's something for the administration to take a look at and see how we best fit in this formula."