Rainbows try simpler approach


POSTED: Saturday, February 07, 2009

A new belief in the Hawaii offense from the team's coaches and players will be put to the test tonight against a dangerous Idaho squad.




Idaho (10-11, 4-4 Western Athletic Conference) at Hawaii (11-11, 3-7), 6 p.m. today, KFVE, Ch. 5; KKEA, 1420-AM


The Rainbow Warriors (11-11, 3-7 Western Athletic Conference) are coming off their most emphatic win of the WAC season, a 69-43 rout of Fresno State on Thursday.

But UH is playing the team that handed it a lopsided 67-47 loss at Moscow, Idaho, on Jan. 8. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii coach Bob Nash has reduced the number of plays the Rainbows run in their halfcourt flex-motion offense, and thought the simplified approach had a direct correlation in UH's 50.9 percent shooting against the Bulldogs.

“;We've taken some of the stuff off the table,”; Nash said. “;We put so much stuff on their plate that they had to learn, so we just simplified things and tried to perfect it. We must perfect things before we add a little bit more. We'll tweak some things before ... the WAC tournament, but right now let's just perfect what we have, and make teams try to take that away from us.”;

A major difference between fifth-place Idaho (10-11, 4-4) and last-place Fresno State is the Vandals have a seasoned playmaker in Mac Hopson, whereas the Bulldogs played without suspended point guard Dwight O'Neil.

The Vandals are well rested after having their last three games at home and a solid week since their last contest, a 69-65 loss to Nevada at the Cowan Spectrum last Saturday.

UH point guard Kareem Nitoto thinks the Rainbows are a different team than the one that went up to Moscow and was beaten soundly. Hawaii's 29.6 percent shooting in that game is one of its worst marks of the season.

“;We haven't been thinking out on the court,”; Nitoto said. “;Basketball's a reaction game and we're not out there thinking, trying to think what I should do next. We're just out there playing basketball and having fun while we're doing it. It's showing, a whole different team out there.”;

The Rainbows might be forced to have a different starting lineup, as forward Bill Amis sat out yesterday's practice with a taped right foot after tweaking his ankle against Fresno State. He's the only Rainbow to have started all 22 games this season. Amis said he's “;day-to-day.”;

“;Bill has a good pain tolerance, and if he can go, he'll go,”; Nash said. “;Obviously that hurts us because he's one of our leaders, not just in terms of ability to score but out on the floor. Somebody all the guys feed off of. So if he can't go then we'll have to have somebody else step up.”;