'Bows nail down first win


POSTED: Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hawaii opened up like a supernova, fizzled out ... then closed with a final flash.

Roderick Flemings and Dwain Williams exploded early and late to give the Rainbow Warriors a 65-48 victory over Southern Utah on the first day of the 46th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center last night.

Third-year UH coach Bob Nash got his first season-opening win and the Rainbows earned their first debut victory in four years. Flemings went for 23 points and 12 rebounds, Williams added 16 in his Rainbows debut at shooting guard and Jeremy Lay added 11 off the bench.

Hiram Thompson had five assists and no turnovers, Petras Balocka grabbed 11 rebounds and Paul Campbell was a defensive deterrent with four blocks.

“;I thought our guys gave a great effort tonight,”; Nash said. “;We had some lulls there in the middle, (and) we didn't shoot the ball particularly well in the second half, but give these guys credit—they fought back and got into the offensive system.”;

A turnstile crowd of 3,737 was on edge after a UH 13-point first-half lead eventually disappeared midway through the second period. UH scored only three points over the first 8 minutes after intermission, and the young Thunderbirds of the Summit League steadily crept back in. The visitors with seven freshmen on their roster seized their first lead with 12 minutes left at 36-35, but couldn't maintain their momentum.

Lay made a steal and fed Flemings for a fast-break dunk, keying a 28-12 run to close the game. Flemings and Williams accounted for 18 of those points, including a highlight-reel quality breakaway jam by Flemings, an All-Western Athletic Conference second-teamer last year.

“;I think we just basically had to settle down and start running our stuff,”; said Williams, a transfer who played in his first collegiate game since the spring of 2008 at Providence. “;We were looking to go too much 1-on-1. Once we settled down and got good shots we were all right from that point on.”;

Davis Baker, the Thunderbirds' top scorer last season at 17.4 points per game, led SUU with 14 points. But he shot 6-for-17 with six turnovers in being hounded by the Rainbows all night. He was the T-Birds' only player in double figures.

UH opened the 2009-10 season by hitting its first five shots in jumping out to an 11-2 lead. New guards Williams and Lay displayed their range with deep 3-pointers to help keep UH ahead early, but the Rainbows' momentum sputtered and SUU closed the half on a 10-2 run to head into the break down 32-27. The second half was even worse; UH finished 3-for-16 on treys for the game.

“;We will shoot the ball better, which should open things up for the bigs even more,”; Nash said.

UH's frontcourt was depleted without would-be starting forward Bill Amis (foot injury) and center Douglas Kurtz (ineligibility). Still, the 'Bows outrebounded the 'Birds 41-26, and gave away just 12 turnovers after posting 29 in one of their preseason exhibition games. SUU had just seven assists to 18 turnovers.

“;What we didn't do was be patient,”; said SUU coach Roger Reid, making his first appearance at the Sheriff since he coached BYU in the 1990s. “;We came down and took hurried shots. We didn't execute.”;

UH plays McNeese State next tomorrow at 5:05 p.m., and Northern Colorado at 11 p.m. Monday night in an ESPN-televised game.

Northern Colorado 101, McNeese State 73

The UNC Bears opened up the new round-robin format of the Rainbow Classic with an offensive explosion of 57.6 percent shooting from the field.

Guard Will Figures scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half to lead five Bears in double-figure scoring.

UNC, of the Big Sky Conference, shot 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) on 3-pointers, and outscored the Cowboys 48-27 in the second half.

The Bears set a Stan Sheriff Center record for points in the first half with 53. The previous mark was 50, posted five times.

UH signs Coleman

As expected, the Rainbows announced they officially signed their first (and likely only) player of the early signing period yesterday, Calabasas (Calif.) High guard Jordan Coleman.

Coleman, 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds, averaged 11.9 points and 4.7 rebounds as a secondary offensive option as a junior. He shot 50 percent from the field, and his teammates voted him as the Leadership Award winner for his unselfish play.

Hawaii 65, Southern Utah 48

Thunderbirds (0-1) 
TEAM  5    
Rainbow Warriors (1-0)
TEAM  4   1


Key— fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime— Hawaii 32, Southern Utah 27

3-point goals— SUU 3-9 (Heuir 1-1, Allen 1-2, Friel 1-2, Baker 0-4), Hawaii 3-16 (Williams 2-7, Lay 1-6, Thompson 0-1, Flemings 0-2).

Steals— SUU 6 (Allen 2, Neilson, Friel, Massey, Hodsgon), Hawaii 6 (Lay 3, Flemings, Mayen, Balocka). Blocked shots— SUU 4 (Hodsgon 2, Nielson, Massey), Hawaii 5 (Campbell 4, Flemings).

Officials— Scott Thornley, Bobby Vetkoetter, Brian Yamasaki. A—3,737.