'Bows lose 5th in a row
• Photo gallery: Hawaii vs. Fresno State mens' basketball
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
A season of lows hit another one last night for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.
Fresno State defeated the Rainbow Warriors, 61-51, in a crucial Western Athletic Conference game.
It was the the fifth consecutive loss for the 'Bows, who also scored their season-low in points last night.
A crowd of 3,202 at the Stan Sheriff Center watched the 'Bows fall to 9-14 overall and 2-8 in the WAC.
It was a crucial loss because it kept the 'Bows in a tie with Boise State at the bottom of the WAC standings. Hawai'i now has just six WAC games remaining, including just two more at home.
"This is a really tough loss," senior forward Brandon Adams said. "It really hurt us to lose at home like this."
Fresno State improved to 12-12 overall and 5-5 in the WAC with its second victory over Hawai'i this season.
"The effort things is what I was most disappointed with," Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash said. "When the ball rolls around in front of you, you gotta go get the basketball. When it comes off the backboard and you got inside position, the ball's got to belong to you, and we didn't have that tonight. That's the most disappointing thing I take out of this."
Roderick Flemings scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, but he was the only Hawai'i player to score in double-figures.
"He worked hard, he got his shot going," Nash said. "He likes playing against Fresno State. But we gotta get other guys playing the same way."
Adams added eight points and eight rebounds, and Adhar Mayen had eight points and six rebounds.
Hawai'i committed 19 turnovers, and it led directly to 24 points for the Bulldogs. The 'Bows also passed for just seven assists and shot 42.9 percent from the field and 53.8 percent on free throws.
"We didn't give ourselves a chance to be successful by not staying with the game plan," Nash said.
Still, the game was close throughout, and Hawai'i even had a four-point lead early in the second half. The final margin of 10 points was the largest of the game, thanks to 8-of-8 free-throw shooting by the Bulldogs in the final two minutes.
"I really don't know what happened," Adams said. "We didn't get out on their shooters, and we weren't making our shots."
Fresno State led by as many as seven points in the first half, and eventually took a 27-25 lead at intermission.
The 'Bows opened the second half with a 10-4 run to take a 35-31 lead, but it would only be momentary. The Bulldogs answered with a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 40-35 with 10:31 remaining.
Fresno State maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Mike Ladd led the Bulldogs with 18 points, Greg Smith added 16, and Seay scored 13.
"It's a good win for our program," Fresno State head coach Steve Cleveland said. "It's a good win in the sense that we found a way to win on the road.
Hawai'i played without junior guard Dwain Williams, who is currently serving an indefinite suspension for violating team rules.
Also, starting point guard Hiram Thompson played 28 minutes with an injured left shoulder that clearly hampered his performance. He went scoreless and attempted only one shot.
However, Fresno State played without its top player, sophomore Paul George. He sat out his fourth consecutive game with an ankle injury. He leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 17.0 points per game, and rebounding with 7.3 per game.
"I think both (teams) were kind of doing it with smoke and mirrors," Cleveland said. "(Hawai'i) competed really hard. Just not having guards on the floor really made a difference."