UH hoops viewer falls short

November 17, 2009, 10:28 AM HST · Updated November 17, 10:28 AM
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UH hoops viewer falls short

By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

Much like the Hawaii basketball team, I tried but came up short.

Down by 17 points, 69-52, w i t h 4 : 2 8 r e m a i n i n g , the Bows went on a furious rally to get as close as 76-74 with 22 seconds left.

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But Northern Colorado hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final seconds to secure an 81-75 win in the title game of the 46th annual Rainbow Classic that ended past 1 o’clock this morning.

To accommodate ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, the game tipped off at 11 p.m. before a crowd of 2,513 at the Stan Sheriff Center and an unknown number of insomniacs in a national TV audience.

Despite my best intentions of seeing the game through, I nodded out sometime in the midst of Northern Colorado’s 17-0 run in the second half to break a 52-all tie.

The wonders of DVR enabled me to watch UH become unglued, regroup behind guard Jeremy Lay’s trio of 3-point baskets in the final 90 seconds and eventually suffer its first loss of the young season.

L a y f i n i s h e d w i t h a g a m e – h i g h 1 8 p o i n t s , i n c l u d i n g f i v e 3 – p o i n t e r s . UH’s other guard, Dwaine Williams, added 17 points, with 14 coming in the first half. But he finished 4 of 16 from the field, including 1 of 8 from behind the arc.

Memo to coach Bob Nash: Remind your two guards that this team’s best player is forward Rodney Flemings, who finished with 12 points and was treated as an after-thought by his new teammates.

WAHINE OPENER: The Rainbow Wahine open their season with a three-game swing through Southern California. UH faces UC Riverside tonight, followed by visits to UCLA on Thursday and CS-Bakersfield on Saturday. All three of their opponents lost their openers over the weekend.

New head coach Dana Takahara-Dias inherits 11 returnees, a high-profile local recruit and a program that went 8-20 (4-12, WAC) last year. UH welcomes freshman Shawna Kuehu was highly recruited coming out of Punahou, which she led to state titles in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Kuehu sat out last year, turning down an offer to play at Cal.

UC Riverside lost 86-63 to Miami in which just 8 players suited up due to injuries. The Highlanders finished 19-12 with a WNIT appearance last season. UC Riverside lost all 5 starters from last year’s team and return three players and six red-shirts.

UCLA lost, 61-55, to Illinois State. The Bruins return 10 players from last year’s 19-12 team, including 4 starters and 6-6 senior Monique Alexander.

Cal State Bakersfield rallied from a 12-point deficit but fell short in a 78-76 loss to Montana State. Katie Williams scored 22 and has scored in double figures in 18 straight games. The Roadrunners, an independent team, return nine players from last year’s 19-10 team and are in their fourth and final year of a transition period from NCAA D-II to D-I.

Hawaii’s home opener is November 27 against 16th-ranked Arizona State in the Rainbow Wahine Classic.

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