Turnaround time comes at a premium for Hawaii today. The Rainbow Warriors had only about 20 hours to get over their 62-61 loss to Boise State in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic first round on Sunday night, and be ready for today’s 6 p.m. (7 p.m. in reality) game against Saint Mary’s in the consolation semifinals.
You can bet the Gaels (9-1), featuring assistant coach Eran Ganot, will come out motivated after dropping a game they should have won against South Carolina.
UH’s depth took a blow early against the Broncos when freshman wing Aaron Valdes hyperextended an elbow almost immediately after checking in during the first half. He did not return. Valdes was to get an MRI today, UH assistant coach Benjy Taylor said.
Valdes had seen his role reduced in recent games but UH coach Gib Arnold spoke before the tournament about an expanded role for several of his bench players, including Valdes, to keep his rotation fresh as well as build confidence going into Big West Conference play. UH is hoping it’s just a bruise of some sort.
The ‘Bows will look for a bounce-back game from forward Christian Standhardinger (3-for-9 shooting vs. BSU). He and Isaac Fotu will have their hands full against Gaels big man Brad Waldow, SMC’s leading scorer and rebounder.
If UH wins, it’s into the consolation championship (fifth-place game) vs. Oregon State. If the ‘Bows lose, it’ll be their first appearance in the DHC seventh-place game, vs. George Mason. Regardless, it will be an 11 a.m. game on Christmas Day on ESPNU.