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Back at home, back to work

After a couple of days to rest and reflect, the Hawaii basketball team returned to practice this weekend.

The Warriors returned to Honolulu on Thursday afternoon after its heartbreaking exit from the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at Las Vegas. They took Friday off to recover – and monitor the tsunami coverage — then started their preparation for Portland on Saturday.

Hawaii will host Portland in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Tuesday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“I know its been a couple of days, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the WAC game,” senior forward Bill Amis said of the team’s 75-74 loss to San Jose State. “But we have to move on and start to think about Portland.”

Junior guard Zane Johnson added: “We never want to go out the way we did and we’re not going to. We’re going to keep playing hard and give the fans what they want to see and win some more games. We don’t want our season to end like that.”

Hawaii is 18-12 and will be appearing in the postseason for the first time since 2004. Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold described the invitation to the CIT as “an honor,” especially for a program that had 10 total wins last season, and was predicted to finish last in the WAC this season.

“You play the whole regular season to do everything for the opportunity to play in the postseason,” he said. “We got an invitation and nobody would have expected that six months ago. We weren’t even expected to go to our own conference tournament … we proved them all wrong.”

While the focus is now on Portland, there is still an uneasy feeling left over from the loss to San Jose State in Las Vegas. The game ended with a frantic finish – Amis’ tip-in of a Miah Ostrowski miss was ruled to have come after the final buzzer.

However, the Warriors said they have yet to see a replay of those final seconds.

“They’re hiding it from us, there’s something fishy going on,” Johnson said.

Amis added: “I haven’t seen it, but I heard (the ball) was clearly in my hand when the light went off, so that’s the way it goes. But I think Miah got fouled before that, so who knows?”

In any case, the Warriors will have to be ready for a Portland team that won 20 games (20-11 record) and is making its third consecutive appearance in the CIT.

“That’s a good team,” Arnold said. “It helps us to be back at home, but we’re going to have to play our best.”

1 Comment

  1. Looks like Hawaii is gonna have they’re work cut out for them. Portland sounds pretty good.

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