By Gary Dickman.
Well, there was one game this past weekend for the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team, and it did result in a win over New Orleans – not the Pelicans, but the Privateers. I know that this wasn’t a ranked opponent. Too often, I hear fans talking about the lack of Top 25 teams on the UH schedule. There are reasons why that is, and I’ll talk about that at another time, I do want to point out, however, that over the years even though UH isn’t playing as many ranked teams as you’d like, there are some formidable opponents coming here to the Stan Sheriff Center. New Orleans had been in the post season the last three years, and they were the preseason pick to win the Southland Conference. If you saw or listened to Sunday’s game, you could see that they were a tough challenge for the Rainbow Warriors.
I have a feeling that I’ll be writing this a lot this season: A big reason why UH won was “Steady” Eddie Stansberry. (If anyone has a better idea for a nickname, let me know.) Eddie scored 24 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 4 3-pointers. A few of those 3s gave UH a lead, as there were 11 lead changes in the game. (Hawaii won, 79-71.) It’s not just the numbers with Stansberry, but the way he’s demanding the ball, and hitting baskets at crucial times.
Someone asked me on The Fan’s Voice after the game where I thought UH would finish in the Big West. I said it depends on how many of the close games down the stretch that they win. A few of those games got away from them last year, but winning games like Sunday (or last week vs Pacific) are the types of wins that can make a difference between second place and fifth place. And with a go-to shooter in Steady Eddie, and maybe the league’s best point guard in Drew Buggs, this could be the year UH wins the conference.
Another tough test will come this Friday, as the ’Bows play the undefeated San Francisco Dons (6-0). I’m hoping to see improved play from Hawaii’s starting center, Dawson Carper. He’s shown improvement, but he needs to use his strength more when putting up shots around the basket. He’s gotten blocked several times this year, but by going up stronger, he should be able to draw fouls. Let’s watch for that over the next few games.
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