'Bows' Williams makes point by putting up 36


POSTED: Saturday, December 26, 2009

You look at what Dwain Williams did yesterday—36 points, 29 of them after halftime when he was given the green light to go for it—and the answer to all of Hawaii's basketball problems seem so easy.

Let the 6-foot guard run and gun all the time, forget all about that flex-motion offense. Maybe Williams can do it consistently, and maybe the Rainbows win more games.

They lost this one, 84-75, to a Saint Mary's team that is now 11-2, Hawaii playing without forward Roderick Flemings—the player who is usually its primary scoring threat.

It seems to make perfect sense, doesn't it? The more points Williams scores, the better chance the Rainbows, now 6-6, have of winning, right?

Maybe it is that simple.

But coach Bob Nash and even Williams himself, a talented transfer from Providence, are not so sure.

“;We're trying to open up the offense a little and we'll explore things,”; Nash said afterward. “;Our continuity of our offense broke down. We gave him some freedom.”;

With Flemings out and the set attack bogging down (10 first-half turnovers), letting Williams loose became the best option. Now some will argue it always is.

“;We were searching for ways to score, and we didn't think any of those (Saint Mary's defenders) could stay in front of me,”; said Williams, after scoring his college career high. “;I don't know if that's best for us if Rod's on the floor. When Rod's on the floor, I don't need to put up those kinds of numbers. But any night I'm asked ...”;

WILLIAMS STRUGGLED earlier in the season with adapting his game to Nash's expectations. It even led to some missed practices and a two-game suspension.

“;Everything is going in the right direction now,”; Williams said. “;There were some misunderstandings earlier. I've always been a winner and (losing four in a row) was tough. Especially at home.

“;It's my first year here, and I didn't come for summer school. So I'm still learning the offense. I've got it overall, but there's a lot to it. I'm getting better with it day by day.”;

Nash pointed out not all of Williams' points resulted from mad bombing (he was 4-for-10 beyond the arc). Williams made 16 of 18 free throws, many produced by working the halfcourt offense.

“;It wasn't all 3s; he got to the front of the rim a lot,”; Nash said.

Despite Williams' monster second half, the Gaels still outscored the Rainbows in the final 20 minutes. When they weren't giving the ball away in the first half, the 'Bows shot it from the floor much better than in the second (58 to 39 percent).

But Saint Mary's got solid contributions from all five starters, and its marquee player, Omar Samhan, led the way with 24 points. He was also a force defensively with seven rebounds, four blocks and a steal resulting in the 6-foot-11 center dribbling more than half the court to slam home a pair of points. Hawaii didn't have an answer for his presence and consistency. Williams was fun to watch, but he wasn't the solution.

THE RAINBOWS have one more game, Monday against Northwestern State, before opening WAC play Jan. 2 against Idaho.

Williams' scoring can be viewed as a good omen, but the real key is how his game meshes with Flemings' when he returns. Williams won't always score 25 points above his average, but it's nice to know he's capable.

Hopefully for UH, it won't be wasted in a loss next time.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.