UH preps for tough test from BYUH


POSTED: Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Some new weapons will be on display tomorrow night for the Hawaii men's basketball team.

And the Rainbow Warriors will likely need them against the hoops phalanx marching in from the North Shore.

UH takes on as tough an exhibition opponent as it has faced in years in the top-ranked Division II team in the country, Brigham Young-Hawaii, tomorrow night at the Stan Sheriff Center. Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.

Even without last season's NCAA II National Player of the Year, forward Lucas Alves (a preseason pick to repeat for that honor), the Seasiders remain a formidable force. Alves is estimated out until early 2010 while he recovers from knee surgery.

BYUH went 27-2 and advanced to the final 16 D-II teams in March. It figures to offer a much tougher test than fellow PacWest Conference member Hawaii-Hilo — against whom the Rainbows sweated out a 76-65 victory at the Sheriff last week.

But that's exactly what Hawaii coach Bob Nash wants; the Rainbows couldn't ask for a stricter final challenge before their regular-season opener Nov. 13 against Southern Utah.

“;This is very important for us, in terms of getting ready for the remainder of our season,”; Nash said. “;Like I told the team, we respect anybody who comes in the Stan Sheriff Center. We gotta get ready to play. We can't come in here thinking that just because they're a D-II school, they can't beat you. Certainly, they are a very good Division II team — the best in Division II.”;





        » Who: BYU-Hawaii at Hawaii

» When: Tomorrow, 7 p.m. » Where: Stan Sheriff Center


» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM


The Rainbows seemed to get the message. Without Alves, the Seasiders still pack an offensive wallop in their up-and-down game with J.R. Buensuceso (Cousy Award finalist at point guard) and slasher “;Jet”; Chang (PacWest freshman of the year).

“;They can go out there and beat a lot of Division I teams,”; said forward Bill Amis, who unloaded 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks on UHH. “;We know that. We're taking them seriously and we're out to show them we're the best team on the island.”;

Newcomer guard Jeremy Lay shook off a groin injury and practiced for the last two days with the Rainbows. His availability helps take some of the backcourt load off Hiram Thompson, who played 37 minutes against the Vulcans. He also adds a desperately needed 3-point threat; Thompson shot 2-for-7 on treys and no other 'Bow connected from deep.

“;All signs are green lights,”; Lay said. “;It's very important (to contribute) because they put a lot of trust in me. I want to repay them by not sitting over here.”; He gestured toward the end of the Rainbows' bench.

Junior center Douglas Kurtz got in his first full practices of the season this week after resting a bone bruise in his knee since the first official practice. Nash wants to get him in the mix tomorrow.

“;For sure,”; said the 7-footer, who is now pain-free. “;I think we got a lot to prove this year. I think we should just be ourselves (against BYUH) and play hard. Be aggressive on the defense and run the right things on the offense. Everybody be in the right spots, and we score the baskets.”;

Junior guard Dwain Williams is still recovering from a jammed thumb and senior forward Brandon Adams a tweaked ankle. Senior center Paul Campbell missed the last two practices with a nagging ailment. Senior swingman Roderick Flemings played 24 minutes against UHH, scoring 14 points, but remains limited by a pulled groin. He was unsure yesterday whether he'd play against BYUH — though Nash said he still wanted to get Flemings some court time.

The teams last met in an exhibition setting in 2003, which the Rainbows escaped to win 63-56.

There is no TV coverage, but the game will be radio broadcast live on KKEA 1420-AM.