Balocka's big night carries 'Bows


POSTED: Monday, December 07, 2009

Petras Balocka was unstoppable. Every rebound, carom and bounce ended up in his hot hands.

Bob Nash, watching placidly from the sideline, was unconcerned.

Balocka posted 20 points and 20 rebounds in Hawaii's 96-78 blowout win over Lamar last night at the Stan Sheriff Center, the first 20-20 game (and most rebounds by a UH player) since Nash's school-record 30 against Arizona State in 1971.

“;He's a good rebounder, but Bob Nash is a better rebounder,”; said Nash, the Hawaii coach, with a straight face as Balocka sat two seats over during the postgame press conference. “;Never in question. But it was good to see that he went to the board the way he did. He really did a nice job, and I applaud him for that, because that's just hard work. He does it every day in practice, and it happened in the game.”;

A crowd of 2,597 had plenty to cheer about, as Balocka and Roderick Flemings (game-high 22 points) led the Rainbow Warriors (3-4) to their best game of the year; the much-needed victory snapped a four-game losing streak at the start of a nine-game homestand.

The 'Bows put up season bests in field-goal percentage (.550), 3-pointers made (nine), assists (23), and high-fives (too many to count). Every player on the active roster scored, including walk-ons Beau Albrechtson and Rykin Enos, who notched their first career points in garbage time on the Southland Conference Cardinals (3-6).

Balocka, a 6-foot-8 senior from Lithuania, checked out with 3 minutes, 53 seconds to a rousing ovation. When center Douglas Kurtz scored his first UH field goal on a putback in his Rainbows debut last night, there was Balocka, standing and waving a towel on the sideline in true Nash fashion.

“;It just felt good; we work hard and pretty much brought the same attitude to the game,”; said Balocka, who came in averaging 8.2 points and 9.2 rebounds. He shredded the Cardinals with a series of his trademark reverse layups, and was there for putbacks on myriad misses of teammates. He had 11 boards by halftime.

“;Just things was going my way and had a good night,”; he said. “;My teammates was looking for me all the time and, what can I say, just one of my better games.”;

Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte could only shake his head in the visiting locker room afterward. His Cardinals dropped to 0-6 on the road, and lost their sixth game in seven contests.

“;We did not do a good job of defending them, no matter what defense we were in,”; he said. “;They probably want to play us a few more times. (Balocka) had a good night. ... Give him credit, he had a career night.”;

The 7-foot Kurtz, obviously not adjusted to officiating in his first Division I game, fouled out with three points and four rebounds in 7 minutes. Still, he was quickly a fan favorite. He missed the first six games of the season serving an NCAA suspension for playing with pros before arriving in the USA from Brazil for junior college.

“;I've been waiting for Big Daddy to come back,”; Balocka said. “;Gives me confidence, lets me play aggressive, knowing someone got my back. That helps a lot.”;

The team's ball movement was much improved. Hiram Thompson dished out nine assists, giving him 17 in two games and a career high both times. The rest of the Rainbows followed suit and UH had its highest point total since 97 against Texas Southern in 2003.

“;The thing I was most pleased with was the way the guys shared the basketball,”; Nash said. “;They weren't selfish, and they looked for each other. When the shots came they took them, and when they didn't get them, they went to the backboard. As long as we play like that, I have no problems.”;

The Cardinals would speed up the court on UH makes or misses, and pressed the Rainbows end to end. But they couldn't force turnovers on the Rainbows consistently enough.

Twice in the first half UH threatened to pull away, only to allow Lamar runs of 9-2 (at 19-all) and 10-2 (at 32-31, UH). But the Rainbows closed the half on an 8-2 run to lead 40-31 at intermission. In the second half, Flemings hit back-to-back angle 3-pointers—completing a four-point play on the second—to cap a 16-0 run for a 64-37 UH lead. Lamar, led by Kendrick Harris' 21 points, never recovered.

Guard Dwain Williams was also back in the fold after serving a two-game suspension for violating a team rule. He came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer in 14 minutes.

Hawaii returns to the court on Wednesday to play host to Chaminade at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.













































































































































































TEAM  2    
Totals33-60 21-303925962317200



LAMAR (3-6)
TEAM  2    
Totals26-63 26-34312278129200

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 40, Lamar 31
3-point goals— Hawaii 9-19 (Mayen 2-2, Thompson 2-2, Flemings 2-6, Lay 2-6, Williams 1-3), Lamar 0-8 (Miles 0-2, Minor 0-2, Davis 0-1, Harper 0-1, Harris 0-1, Mathis 0-1).
Steals— Hawaii 3 (Balocka, Flemings, Mayen), Lamar 10 (Harper 3, Mathis 2, Nabors 2, Harris, Miles, Wesley). Blocked shots—Hawaii 2 (Campbell 2), Lamar 1 (Minor)
Officials— Michael Irving, Doran Gotschall, Bryan Barr.
A—2,597 .