Rainbows back home after breaking skid


POSTED: Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If Hawaii is to get back in the thick of the Western Athletic Conference race, the time is now.

With more than half of the WAC schedule completed, the Rainbow Warriors must take advantage of their four remaining conference home games.

The seventh-place Rainbows (10-11, 2-7 WAC) open a three-game homestand tomorrow against the last-place Fresno State Bulldogs (9-13, 1-6) at the Stan Sheriff Center.

UH's players feel better after they ended a five-game losing streak by earning a split on their difficult road trip to Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State last week.

“;It was just exciting to win again, man,”; swingman Roderick Flemings said. “;We hadn't won in a long time. Now we need to get some more wins at home, see what happens.”;

Hawaii coach Bob Nash is wary of FSU, which took first-place Utah State to overtime on a three-quarter court shot by Sylvester Seay at the buzzer on Saturday. In their last three games, the Bulldogs have averaged 79 points.

They played the last two without senior point guard Dwight O'Neil, one of the top playmakers in the WAC, who was questionable to arrive with his team late last night.

According to the Fresno Bee, O'Neil was arrested during a traffic stop because of a warrant for a suspended or revoked license. He's since been suspended indefinitely from the team. During this week's WAC teleconference, coach Steve Cleveland expressed doubt that O'Neil would make the Hawaii trip.

Nash is preparing for the Bulldogs as though O'Neil will make the trip and play. Even if he doesn't, the coach knows other factors can come into the mix. Fresno still has freshman Paul George, who leads the team with 15.4 points per game and is shooting a blistering 45.4 percent on 3-pointers. Seay is their second option at 14.4 ppg. They've contributed to an athletic lineup that leads the WAC in blocked shots at five per game.

“;After you take a guy like (O'Neil) out of the mix, other guys think they have to step up and do more,”; Nash said. “;I think that's what's happening right now with Fresno State.”;

There have also been encouraging offensive signs in UH's last two games. In their win at LaTech, the Rainbows shot 47 percent, one of their better marks of the season. And in a loss at NMSU, Hawaii's 72 points was a WAC season high.

“;We felt like we had a couple good games,”; said junior forward Bill Amis, who posted a season-high 18 points against the Aggies. “;Wanted to come away with one other one, but it was good to get a win on the road. I feel like if we can put it together, we can be a really tough team to beat. Just have to build up our offense and our defense together.”;


Flemings to watch cousin

Flemings plans to re-establish some family ties this weekend.

He is a distant cousin of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who is participating in Sunday's Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

“;He's a more distant (cousin), but I've talked to him a few times,”; Flemings said. “;I'm planning to go out and see him on Sunday. My mom said my other cousin is coming out to see him play. It's been a while.”;