Last week, I wrote how this year’s University of Hawaii basketball team had the “It” factor. And yes, I still believe that even after last week’s road trip, which resulted in two losses. When it comes to the “It” factor, well, all I can say is that sometimes “It” happens. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I know some of you will get that.)
But seriously, even though it was a rough week for our team, all is not lost. The ’Bows, at 5-3, are still in second place in the Big West Conference. There’s still a lot to look forward to, and I feel they’ll be fine.
I don’t like to use excuses for a loss or two, but I’ll give this as a reason why they lost both games. They’re still missing two starters in Samuta Avea and Bernardo Da Silva. If you take two starters off of any team in the Big West, I’m not sure they’d go 3-2. Again, it’s not an excuse, but it’s certainly a contributing factor in those losses.
It wasn’t a bad loss vs Santa Barbara, as the Gauchos are one of the top teams in the league. Amadou Sow, who will be a First-Team Big West player this year, had a rough game here last month, with only 9 points. I had a feeling he’d have revenge on his mind, and he did: Sow had a career-high 30 points, and UH lost to the better team.
I didn’t expect UH to lose to Cal Poly on Saturday, although Poly is 4-0 at home in the conference. It was a tough overtime loss, that’s for sure. It was good to see Dawson Carper have the best game of his young career, with career highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Justin Webster is showing every game that he’s an important player for this team, hitting big shots, including a big three-pointer in overtime to give a Hawaii a brief lead with a minute left. I’m confident the losing streak will end as the ’Bows are back home this week. It’s better to have these losses in February than March.
As for this week, now the games are more and more important. Hawai’i will play the last-place and first-place teams in Long Beach State and Cal Irvine. There is still no definitive word on whether Avea and Da Silva will be back, but I’m hearing it’s more likely that they will.
There are only four home games left for this team, and the crowds have gotten bigger and louder with every game. Saturday’s contest against Irvine will be on ESPN 2; it’s the first home conference game on national TV since we’ve been in the Big West. It’s a “White Out,” and UH will be retiring Bob Nash’s jersey number 33. I guess in a way, they’ll be retiring Bobby Nash’s number as well, as Bobby also wore Dads number 33. Isn’t that even more of a reason to show up on Saturday? It’ll be another special night. The first 3,000 fans will be given a free Bob Nash Hawaii T-shirt jersey. And it’s a battle for first place in the Big West. I predict 7,500 fans will be there. I’m hoping I’ll be proven wrong, and it’ll be over 8,000. Please prove me wrong.
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