Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors will host Portland in CIT

Special to WarriorInsider.com

LAS VEGAS – The pain of Wednesday’s 75-74 defeat to San Jose State in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament opener was eased a bit soon after with the announcement that Hawaii will play host to Portland at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the first round of the fledgling CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The 24-team CIT is in its third year and – along with the 32-team National Invitational Tournament – provides postseason opportunity for schools that do not receive bids to the 68-team NCAA Tournament.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan said he had been in discussion with former Warriors coach Riley Wallace, who is the CIT selection committee chairman, since last week. Donovan said Hawaii’s 77-71 victory at San Jose State last Thursday, which boosted its record to 18-10, positioned the Warriors (now 18-12) for the CIT bid.

“Riley did everything humanly possible to get us in, because of his affection for Hawaii and for UH basketball,” Donovan said Wednesday evening. “I faxed the contract early this afternoon, and I would say we were accepted just as the game ended.”

Donovan said the bid to host was priced at “a little more” than the published $31,500 amount that had been circulated through the media. It includes picking up some traveling expenses for Portland.

“Our players have been on the road a lot and they’ve missed a lot of school, so it was important to get the home game,” Donovan said. “It’s great for our three seniors who have never been able to participate in the postseason, and it’s great for our fans, who have been fantastic.”

Donovan said that “as a mahalo to the fans,” ticket prices for Tuesday’s game will actually be reduced from the regular season amount. Season ticket holders will be offered a chance to buy their regular seats at $18 for lower level, $12 for upper level, $10 for upper level senior citizens and $4 for students (ages 4 through high school).

They are urged to buy their tickets online at www.hawaiiathletics.com or at the Stan Sheriff Center box office by Friday evening. Any unsold tickets will be released for general online sale at noon Saturday.

The prices for non-season ticket holders are $24 for lower level, $16 for upper level, $12 for upper level senior citizens and $4 for students (ages 4 through UH).

If the Warriors win Tuesday, there is the possibility of another home game on March 18 (season ticket holders are being asked to buy both games as a package).

“A big crowd (Tuesday) helps the game environment and sends a message to the CIT and other postseason tournaments that we can be a good host site,” Donovan said.

About three hours after Wednesday’s loss, the UH players and coaches joined a fan reception in the Mardi Gras ballroom at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. Although still disappointed with the loss to San Jose State, they clearly seemed upbeat when talking about Tuesday’s CIT game.

“It feels good, playing in a postseason tournament is something I always wanted to do,” said senior forward Bill Amis. “This was a tough loss, it’ll probably stick with us for a couple days, but we have to put it behind us and move on. Now we have to try and make a good run in the CIT.”

Head coach Gib Arnold said the CIT provides another chance to build on the progress made in the past seven weeks, during which the Warriors went 9-4 after an 0-5 conference start.

“We’re thrilled to play again, especially at home,” Arnold said. “No one in our locker room really wanted to have the season end.”

Like Hawaii, Portland (20-11) also suffered a heart-breaking loss in the opening round of its conference tournament at the Orleans Arena. The Pilots lost to Loyola Marymount, 72-68, last Friday in the first round of the West Coast Conference Tournament.

1 Comment

  1. Got to give Riley credit for figuring out how to get us a home game by matching-up UH with a west coast opponent with a much smaller playing facility (capacity: 4,800+) than the SSC. This was probably the only way he could justify it to the financial sponsors of the tournament. Now the fans have got to show up (7,000 – 8,000+ ?) to justify the selection and the home match-up and maybe get a second home game, assuming UH wins.

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