Sports Watch

Bill Kwon

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

Still can’t get over
that loss to BYU

BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder.

Ugly is in the eyes of Rainbow basketball fans lately.

That's why for most of them, getting beat, 60-46, by a good Utah team last night wasn't as bitter a pill to swallow as the 60-59 loss to a bad Brigham Young team Saturday night. Sometimes, closer is not better.

Blowing a 17-point lead can be forgiven, if not forgotten. But blowing a 17-point lead -- and compounding it by losing -- to BYU is an unforgivable sin as far as Rainbow diehards are concerned.

They want to beat BYU so badly they can taste it. In any sport. Tiddlywinks, if it has to come down to that. And especially since that was the last scheduled game of hoops at home against BYU with the break up of the 16-team Western Athletic Conference.

I'm sure it was as galling for UH fans as it was for me that BYU got the last laugh. With a 3-point prayer shot with 3.1 seconds left in the game at that.

Of course, it shouldn't even have come down to that. Not when the 'Bows were leading, 56-41, with less than eight minutes remaining. But when you don't score a single field goal in all that time, you deserve to lose.

The 'Bows had played with emotion and heart in building up a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Cougars to the delight of most of the 5,431 fans at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Then, somehow, their hearts stopped pumping and the shots stopped dropping. Actually, there weren't many shots even taken to have any drop.

INEXPLICABLY, the Rainbows stopped shooting. Twice they had the 35-second clock run out on them without even getting off an attempt.

The 'Bows must have thought it was football. They went into a prevent defense, and you know what happens when you do. It prevents you from winning.

Similarly, in golf (sorry, but there has been a lot of it lately), it's like someone making a conscious effort not to three putt. Invariably, you do because you're putting defensively, lagging the first putt.

Come to think of it, a golf expression might help this year's Rainbows and coach Riley Wallace.

It's "Never Up, Never In."

Except for senior forward Mike Robinson and newcomer Marquette Alexander, when he's not getting into foul trouble early, I've never seen a UH team that has been so reluctant to shoot the ball.

No one's more hesitant in taking a shot than redshirt starting freshman Philipp Czernin, who averages only four attempts a game! Too bad, because he's a 57 percent shooter. Besides, it makes him easy to defend, considering he's always looking to pass first.

Nobody hustles harder than Czernin. If only he would be like Mike and put it up.

IT also doesn't help that Geremy Robinson, arguably the best perimeter shooter on the team outside of Casey Cartwright, is apparently in Wallace's doghouse. He didn't play a single second against BYU or Utah.

I'm told he doesn't know the offense. Well, nobody else did in the final eight minutes of the BYU game.

We've been spoiled rotten by Anthony Carter and Alika Smith and the back-to-back 21-win seasons. And the Rainbows definitely will be better next season.

So we all have to grin and bear it for the rest of this season even if no victories are in sight. But, dang, did they have to lose to BYU like that?

I'm sure a lot of UH fans felt like that guy who held up a poster in the arena last night that said "BYU Sucks."

Never mind, that the 'Bows were playing Utah.

He, along with a lot of other Rainbow fans, still haven't gotten over that loss to BYU.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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