Hawaii’s Poor Shooting Night Dooms the Rainbow Warriors in the Second Half at Illinois
By: Ethan Hennessy
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors entered Monday night’s contest at Illinois playing their first basketball game east of the Mississippi River since December 8th 2008 which coincidentally was also a Monday night game at Illinois.
After a very slow start for both teams in which neither team had cracked double digits a quarter of the way through the game it quickly became a back a fourth contest. Hawaii had the lead three times in the first half, and managed to have the score tied with the host Illini, of the Big Ten, at halftime 26 all.
Hawaii briefly seized control only to have Illinois go on a 14-2 run to retake the lead for good midway through the second half. A large reason for them taking the lead was thanks to their perimeter defense. Despite giving up the advantage 36-34 on paint points in the game Illinois limited Hawaii to 10% from deep in the second half. It was clear stopping the long range attack was the goal for the Illini as coach Brad Underwood said about the Rainbow Warriors after the game: “This is a team that was electric from the three, and we wanted them to shoot twos. We didn’t feel like they could make enough twos to beat us. We wanted them to have to shoot with a contested hand.” The plan worked for Illinois as Hawaii went 3-22 from beyond the arc.
Illinois was led by their seven foot freshman center Kofi Cockburn who contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds. Hawaii’s Zigmars Raimo chipped in a game high 16 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
Up next for Illinois (3-1) they remain at the State Farm Center for a Wednesday night game against The Citadel. As for the Rainbow Warriors (3-2) they travel back to the islands to welcome the New Orleans Privateers to the Stan Sherriff Center in Honolulu on November 24th.