Hawaii faces critical game today at San Jose State


POSTED: Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Hawaii men's basketball team stands at a crossroads tonight.




HAWAII (13-14, 5-9 WAC) AT SAN JOSE STATE (12-14, 5-8)

        When: 5 p.m. today

Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM




Win at San Jose State and the seventh-place Rainbow Warriors' chances of being forced into the Western Athletic Conference tournament play-in game are slim.

With a loss to the Spartans at Walter McPherson Court ... well, Hawaii coach Bob Nash doesn't want to go down that road yet. After today, UH has just one more game—next Saturday's home finale against New Mexico State—to improve its standing.

“;I'm just trying to win games,”; Nash said yesterday from San Jose, Calif., where UH tips off against SJSU at 5 p.m. Hawaii time. “;At the end of it, we'll find out where we stand. We know that we have a very important game (today). Each guy just needs to man up and do his job.”;

Hawaii (13-14, 5-9 WAC) trails San Jose State (12-14, 5-8) by half a game. If the Spartans win, they'll own the tiebreaker with the season sweep—it snapped an 11-game UH winning streak in the series last month with a 73-61 victory in Honolulu. It would only be the second time SJSU pulled that off.

After a stretch of holding three straight opponents under 50 points, the Rainbows have allowed 75.7 points per game in their last three contests. That includes an 82-62 loss at Utah State on Thursday that allowed the Aggies to clinch the regular-season WAC title.

After his team was demolished by USU inside Thursday night, Nash's primary concern is in the post. That goes double with forward Petras Balocka, the team's third-leading scorer and rebounder, home with a groin injury.

“;I think our bigger problem is controlling their insides with C.J. Webster (11.8 ppg) and if they start (Chris) Oakes (8.2 ppg, 7.5 rebounds per game) or if they move (Tim) Pierce (13.1 ppg),”; Nash said.

Adrian Oliver leads the team with 18.1 ppg, but is working his way back from a sprained ankle that caused him to miss three games.