The fickle whistle

New Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich spoke to the crowd at halftime of Wednesday's UH game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
New Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich spoke to the crowd at halftime of Wednesday’s UH game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

We just saw two extremes in two games when it comes to a team getting the benefit of the doubt on foul calls and not receiving it.

In Hawaii’s only loss of the season so far, the Rainbow Warriors had a much-discussed (outside of the team, at least) foul and free throw disadvantage against Texas Tech. Thirty to 16 and 19 to 38, respectively.

In last night’s physical battle with Arkansas-Pine Bluff (a 75-47 UH win), plenty of things were let go — but the stuff that was called almost always went in UH’s favor. The Rainbows attempted 33 free throws to the Golden Lions’ four. Pretty big disparity … though much of that has to do with Pine Bluff jacking 3s and taking ill-advised isolation fadeaways.

Some, of course, you can chalk up to the home team getting the benefit of the doubt. And officiating crews are still adapting to the NCAA’s latest rule changes. From game to game, you can see wide gaps in how closely the game is being called, and what constitutes a foul. Or even a travel, as Isaac Fleming‘s alternating-sneaker-sole wipe while holding the ball in play attested last night. Play on, said the refs.

To the credit of UH’s Eran Ganot and Pine Bluff’s George Ivory, neither coach made too big a deal about the direction of the calls after being on the wrong end of the whistles the last two games.

UH also had to step up and make its free throws (throes?). It ultimately did enough of that last night, knocking down 22 (66.7 percent). Fleming’s 8-for-8 effort helped immensely.

Who knows, Pine Bluff may be back for more … although Ferd Lewis sure hopes not. (subscriber content)


After last night’s 28-point win, Ganot didn’t seem too worried about forward Mike Thomas, who left the action early in the second half with what the coach called back spasms. He’s described as day-to-day.

UH is going to rest up Thursday and Friday then prepare for its next game, Hawaii Hilo on Tuesday. That game, a late addition to the schedule, is currently not being televised.