Hawaii's Haim Shimonovich dove for a loose ball against Louisiana Tech's Wayne Powell on Saturday night.

’Bows lean on
Lizards to prepare
for games

Hawaii’s scout team
shows the starters what
to expect from each opponent

Probable starters

By Jason Kaneshiro

If the Hawaii basketball team can pull off a sweep of its three-game homestand with a win over Fresno State tonight, a lot of credit will be due the Lizards.

The Rainbows' scout team, known as the Lizards around the UH practice gym, may not see much floor time during games, but their work simulating the team's upcoming opponents has been a key in this week's trio of Western Athletic Conference contests spaced in a five-day window.

"It's weird, it feels like we have schizophrenia," senior guard Lance Takaki said. "One day we're this guy, the next day we're another guy. You have to pick up their offenses and their tendencies."

After playing the roles of SMU and Louisiana Tech last week, the Lizards, under the direction of associate head coach Jackson Wheeler, ran through Fresno State's schemes yesterday in preparation for tonight's game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"They've really worked hard because they've had to learn a new one every other day and they've picked it up quick," UH head coach Riley Wallace said. "(Wheeler) brings them in here 45 minutes early to get it in so we don't have to stand around waiting.

"It's not the same athletes, but if they can get us to where we have to know to get to those positions that's the big thing."

The Rainbows (10-2, 3-1 WAC) take on Fresno State in a meeting of the top two teams in the WAC standings. The Bulldogs arrived in Honolulu yesterday at 11-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference.

Preparation for tonight's game is a little trickier for the UH coaches because they haven't faced first-year Fresno State coach Ray Lopes, who brings a new set of schemes and tendencies for Wallace and his staff to study.

Lopes, an assistant at Oklahoma for eight seasons, took over at Fresno State after Jerry Tarkanian retired after last season.

"Coach Lopes has his own personality, and from watching film, we have to pick up his personality," UH associate coach Bob Nash said. "You see how a coach coaches a game, how he goes through his progression of things during a game. Multiple tapes will bring that out because we're creatures of habit."

Hawaii basketball

When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Stan Sheriff Center
Radio: Live, 1420-AM
Tickets: Lower level, $15/$16; upper level (adult) $11/$12; upper level (student, UH) $7; super rooter $8

After simulating a free-wheeling SMU team and a physical Louisiana Tech attack last week, the Lizards played the role of a balanced Fresno State squad at yesterday's workout.

Forward Jonathan Woods and guard Damon Jackson, who both score 12 points per game, are the only Bulldogs who average double figures in points.

"We're not a great basketball team," Lopes said. "I don't have great individuals on this team. But what we are is a good team, one through nine."

Although it's unlikely they'll get on the court tonight, every practice represents a game day for the Lizards, and they revel in scoring on their more prominent teammates.

"We take a lot of pride when we score on them," scout team player Ryne Holliday said. "We let them know about it."

Takaki and Holliday are the senior members of the Lizards and are joined by sophomores Dan Pickart and Gabe Lombard, freshmen Ikaika Alama-Francis and Milos Zivanovic and redshirt Paul Jesinskis. Jason Carter and Vaidotas Peciukas often alternate between the first-team's gray jerseys and the Lizards' green.

"Much respect to the Lizards," UH forward Phil Martin said. "The Lizards are busting their butts to give us the best looks. I've been on the Lizards before, too. Those guys are great, they really work hard and it's their chance to shine."

Scheduling quirk: Tonight's game was originally scheduled for Feb. 22, but was moved to accommodate both teams' participation in Bracket Buster Saturday. It is also the first of two games between the Rainbows and Bulldogs over the next 10 days. The teams meet again Jan. 23 in Fresno.

New addition: Transfer walk-on Anze Sagadin of Slovenia attended yesterday's practice and will start working out with the Rainbows this week. Sagadin, a 6-foot-5 guard, transferred from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and will sit out this season. He will become eligible after the fall semester, as will Eli Carlone, who joined the team last week.

WAC standings

Conference All Games

W L Pct. W L Pct.

Fresno St. 4 0 1.000 11 2 .846

Hawaii 3 1 .750 10 2 .833

La. Tech 2 1 .667 5 5 .500

Tulsa 2 1 .667 9 3 .750

Boise St. 2 2 .500 8 6 .571

Nevada 2 2 .500 7 7 .500

Rice 1 2 .333 9 4 .692

SMU 1 2 .667 6 7 .462

UTEP 1 3 .250 3 10 .231

San Jose St. 0 4 .000 3 10 .231


Probable starters

Fresno STATE (11-2, 4-0)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Damon Jackson (Sr.) 6-4 12.2 4.8 1.8

G Travis DeManby (Sr.) 6-4 6.8 3.7 2.7

G Terry Pettis (Fr.) 6-2 5.0 1.6 3.0

F Jonathan Woods (Jr.) 6-7 12.3 5.8 1.2

F Noel Felix (Sr.) 6-9 9.1 5.2 1.0

Hawaii (10-2, 3-1)

Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast.

G Mark Campbell (Sr.) 6-4 4.3 3.2 6.2

G Michael Kuebler (Jr.) 6-5 11.6 3.2 2.4

F Carl English (Jr.) 6-5 19.7 6.0 2.7

F Phil Martin (Jr.) 6-8 10.0 4.5 0.2

C Haim Shimonovich (Jr.) 6-11 10.5 7.9 2.8

Notes: Fresno State players have claimed the last two WAC player of the week awards -- Jonathan Woods for the week of Dec. 30 and forward Hiram Fuller last week. ... Hawaii's home winning streak now stands at 21 games. The Rainbows have won 18 consecutive WAC games at the Sheriff Center. ... Fresno State has a five-game winning streak, all of the wins coming at home. The Bulldogs are 1-2 on the road this season. ... Fresno State leads the series 16-8, but Hawaii has won the last three meetings, including a sweep of last year's games -- 83-73 in Honolulu and 82-79 in Fresno. ... English scored a total of 55 points in the two games against Fresno State last season. He scored 22 in Honolulu and 33 in Fresno.

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