It's Chicago State, then break


POSTED: Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tunnel vision is a must for the Hawaii men's basketball team, despite a two-game winning streak.

The Rainbow Warriors seek to build on positive momentum and block out adverse factors today against Chicago State at 7:05 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

If the Rainbows (4-4) can win tonight, they'll have nine days to cherish the December victories, take final exams and prepare for the inaugural Diamond Head Classic. Otherwise, there will be plenty of time to stew on shortcomings before UH's new signature holiday tournament.

Questionable health for two starters tops the immediate list of worries. Leading scorer Roderick Flemings missed most of yesterday's practice with a sore quadriceps that was kneed in UH's nail-biting 70-61 win over Division II Chaminade on Wednesday. Center Paul Campbell was also out with a sore back from a fall on a dunk in Thursday's practice.

Guard Dwain Williams and forward Brandon Adams stepped into the first group in their stead. But Campbell was confident he'd play today, and Flemings (16.3 points per game) said he'd be OK for the matchup.

“;We'll see how things look for tomorrow,”; coach Bob Nash said. “;I don't want guys slopping through things (half-speed). We obviously want to have a little momentum going into the Diamond Head Classic with a winning record. Then we have (nine) days to sharpen up some things. Then it's just basketball.”;





        Who: Chicago State (3-4) at Hawaii (4-4)

When: Today, 7:05 p.m.


Where: Stan Sheriff Center


TV: Oceanic digital 255


Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM


Thankfully for the Rainbows, starting forward Petras Balocka was back in action the last two practices after missing the Chaminade game with a jammed ankle. UH collected a less-than-convincing win over the Silverswords; the D-I hosts had to scramble over the final 5 minutes for the comeback win after trailing by as many as 13.

Chicago State (3-4) faces its own difficulties; the Cougars spent most of yesterday traveling to Honolulu after absorbing a 74-39 beatdown at Nebraska on Thursday.

“;It's hard for teams to come out here,”; said swingman Adhar Mayen, one of UH's bright spots through eight games with a .610 shooting percentage from the field (fifth among Western Athletic Conference players). “;They're trying to redeem themselves, so we gotta get on them early.”;

UH met Chicago State for the first time last season, and won 85-75 despite 28 points from volume shooter David Holston.

Holston is gone, and the Cougars' three wins this year came against non-D-I competition. CSU also lost at Iowa State and Central Michigan, but the Rainbows are expecting an up-and-down game with mixed offensive looks from the Cougars. Forward Carl Montgomery leads his team with 13.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

“;They'll be ready to go,”; Nash said. “;They're on a mission, and played at some pretty tough places. I don't think coming into Hawaii is going to be a daunting task for them.”;

More past 20-20 games

It was initially believed that Balocka's 20-point, 20-rebound game against Lamar last Sunday was the first 20-20 game by a UH player since Nash's 27-point, 30-rebound performance in 1971. But UH pored through its records and discovered four other occurrences:

» Nash did it the following game in 1971 against Loyola Marymount (24 points, 26 rebounds) and earlier that season against Linfield (26 points, 22 rebounds).

» Melton Werts accomplished it vs. UNLV in 1972-73 (27 points, 22 rebounds) and again in 1973-74 vs. South Alabama (22 points, 21 rebounds).