Nash wants Rainbows to play together


POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One thing concerned Bob Nash most in Hawaii's loss to Northern Colorado in the championship of the 46th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic early yesterday morning.

Make that a 1-on-1 thing.

The coach was pleased with the effort the Rainbow Warriors showed in clawing back from a 17-point deficit in the final 4 1/2 minutes to nearly steal a win on national TV from the Bears, who won 81-75.

But what preceded that burst troubled a leader who takes pride in team basketball. Ball movement dried up during stretches in the halfcourt flex offense and the Rainbows stood around and watched each other go to work — often on isolation plays — against UNC's body-up defense.

Nash knows team play must improve if the Rainbows are to stay competitive with a tougher opponent in BYU on Friday. The Cougars return four starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team (25-8) and are 2-0 after wins over Bradley and Idaho State at home. The 'Bows started breaking down film of their former Western Athletic Conference rival yesterday.

The coach was asked what UH could take away from the Classic, in which the Rainbows finished second at 2-1 to start the season.

“;Well, we learned that if we play hard and smart and together we can be successful,”; Nash said. “;If we don't, then we're going to struggle a little bit.”;

That was exemplified in the play of shooting guard Dwain Williams, who got off to a hot start in the ESPN midnight game — he had nine of UH's first 10 points and 14 of 30 at halftime — but he ended up shooting 4-for-16 overall with just three second-half points once UNC's physical stopper, tourney MVP Yahosh Bonner, harassed him for the final 25 minutes.

“;It forced him to try to go 1-on-1 a little bit too much with him to beat the pressure,”; Nash said. “;Certainly it became an individual battle. We'd much rather it be for a team battle. We talked about that in the locker room, and Dwain is a tremendous player, has a tremendous amount of pride. But he's gotta learn to control his emotions and play with the team. And if he does that, he's going to have a great career here. He's just a tremendous competitor, and maybe tonight they may have gotten in his head a little bit, took him out a little bit. But you can't fault his effort.”;

It wasn't only Williams forcing up shots while his teammates stood around; UH had just 10 assists against 16 turnovers. Of players with more than two shot attempts, only Petras Balocka (5-for-6) and Adhar Mayen (3-for-6) had respectable shooting percentages.

The Rainbows have a bevy of combined experience, but are still getting a feel for when a teammate is about to pull the trigger on a shot. UH allowed several runouts for fastbreak baskets when it was unprepared for a teammate's hoisted jumper.

“;That's what I'm talking about in being an individual ... is that we take shots we don't expect,”; Nash said. “;If we know the shots are coming, we know how to get our coverages.”;

The players are looking ahead to games with back-to-back top-tier teams from the Mountain West (BYU and New Mexico) on consecutive Fridays.

“;We can take a lot (from the tourney),”; said guard Jeremy Lay, who nearly willed the Rainbows back single-handedly with three late 3-pointers. “;You can learn a lot through wins, but you can also learn through losses. We know we can't have those gaps where we don't play too well. We gotta play a full 40 minutes.”;

Northern colorado 81, Hawaii 75

Bears (3-0, 3-0 OHRC )

TEAM  4    

Rainbow Warriors (2-1, 2-1 OHRC)

TEAM  0    

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 — Northern Colorado 32, Hawaii 30

3-point goals — UNC 5-20 (Bonner 2-4, Kingman 1-2, Lloyd 1-3, Beitzel 1-6, Figures 0-2, Kaba 0-3), Hawaii 8-23 (Thompson 1-1, Mayen 1-2, Lay 5-11, Williams 1-8. Flemings 0-1).

Steals — UNC 4 (Bonner, Beitzel, Brereton, Proctor), Hawaii 5 (Lay 2, Adams, Flemings, Thompson). Blocked shots — UNC 1 (Montgomery), Hawaii 1 (Mayen).

Officials — Verne Harris, Bobby Vetkoetter, Bryan Barr. A—2,513.