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'Bows ready for a turnaround


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POSTED: Sunday, December 06, 2009

If all goes as planned, tonight marks a well-timed shift of fortunes for the Hawaii men's basketball team.

Can the start of a month-long, nine-game homestand buoy the Rainbow Warriors toward a winning season? A victory over Lamar (5:05 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center) would snap a four-game losing streak and do much to propel UH in a positive direction.

The Cardinals of the Southland Conference also hunt for a shift. Lamar seeks to close out an arduous string of unsuccessful road games with a victory going into a lengthy homestand of its own.

Despite a disheartening loss at UC Irvine this week, the Rainbows are stronger than they've been. Center Douglas Kurtz is eligible for the first time this season after serving a six-game NCAA suspension for playing with pros in Brazil, and guard Dwain Williams is back into the fold after a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

               

     

 

UH MEN'S BASKETBALL

        TODAY
       

» Lamar (3-5) at Hawaii (2-4), 5:05 p.m., Stan Sheriff Center

       

» TV: Dig. 255

       

» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

       

 

       

Williams is ready for a fresh start with his teammates and coach, no matter his role in his return—likely a reserve one.

“;I should be good to go. Whatever Coach (Bob Nash) asks of me, I'll do,”; said Williams, who averaged 13.3 points on 33.3 percent field-goal shooting in four games. “;I was real sick, and I had some personal stuff. I'm doing fine (now).”;

The 7-foot Kurtz, who averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds last year at Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College, brings a burly presence to the post the Rainbows have lacked since Stephen Verwers patrolled the paint in 2007. Kurtz shot 67.1 percent from the field and 84.7 percent from the foul line as a sophomore for the Tigers.

“;We need to pick it up,”; Kurtz said. “;I'll show them how bad I want to play, how hard I want to play. I hope that we can get our emotions as high as mine right now. I think we've been kind of missing leadership on the court. So I'll just try to show something, playing hard and work my (butt) off on the boards, posting, defense.

“;I always try to show hard work, you know? I think (if) one guy is just going through the motions, I think another guy's going to see it and do the same.”;

Kurtz's emergence could be important tonight, as the Cardinals, like the Rainbows, are used to out-rebounding opponents. Charlie Harper grabs nine boards a game and Justin Nabors 8.5. Anthony Miles leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game.

Getting a quick jump on the Cardinals is imperative for the Rainbows, who've yielded 80 or more points in four straight games. Over the last two years, Lamar is 18-2 with a halftime lead and 0-18 when it trails at intermission. But the young Cards (nine freshmen and sophomores on the roster) coughed up an eight-point lead late at Denver, losing for the fifth time in six games—all on the road.

“;We're not a team that can go down 20 points (like at Irvine) and get back in the game,”; Nash said. “;Those kind of things can't happen for us to be successful.”;

UH needs senior swingman Roderick Flemings, the team's second-leading rebounder, to build on a 25-point performance at Irvine. His season-high night raised his scoring average to 15 per game, highest on the team again.

“;I think the last four practices he's had, he's probably been as engaged and as vocal and as animated as I've seen him in his whole time here,”; Nash said.