Mens Basketball: Dogs bite Bows

Fresno State, playing without two starters, knocks off Hawaii in conference opener, 69-58.

HONOLULU - Despite the absence of its two leading scorers, Fresno State still managed a 69-58 victory over Hawai'i, Saturday night, at the Stan Sheriff Center in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both schools. The Rainbow Warriors had its six-game win streak snapped and fell to 8-3, 0-1 WAC.

The Bulldogs used a slow-down approach and dominated the boards. UH grabbed a season-low 16 rebounds in the game, compared to 15 by Fresno State's Mustafa Al-Sayyad. Senior Phil Martin, who made his 100th career start, paced the 'Bows with a team-high 18 points but shot just 6-of-14 from the field.

Senior guard Michael Kuebler, the WAC's leading scorer, struggled from the field, converting only 18.6 percent on 3-of-16 shooting. The senior finished with 10 points, far below his 20.9 scoring average prior to this game. Senior center Haim Shimonovich, one of three UH players to foul out, recorded only two points and three rebounds.

Fresno State (5-5, 1-0) was led by guard Marcus West, who scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The Bulldogs, who played without forwards Renaldo Major (14.9) and Jonathan Woods (12.2), also received scoring efforts by Al-Sayyad (13) and Terry Pettis (10).

For the game, the 'Bows shot 40.8 percent from the field but was 7-of-25 (.280) in the second half. UH was also out-rebounded 38-to-16, including a 25-to-8 advantage after the break.

The first half was a game of spurts, as the lead changed hands 11 times. The Bulldogs eventually took a 37-33 lead at the intermission. West scored 14 in the period for Fresno State, who shot 57.7 percent while Martin and Kuebler each had eight for Hawai'i, who shot 54.2 percent.

UH regained the lead early in the second half after Martin scored the first five points. But the Bulldogs came roaring back and used a 10-2 run to take a 47-40 lead.

Hawai'i answered the call and after a Jason Carter 3-pointer from top of the key, pulled to within 49-47 with 9:52 left. However consecutive turnovers led to four straight Bulldogs points. Martin's three-point play cut the deficit to 53-50 with just over seven minutes to play.

But back-to-back buckets by Al-Sayyad pushed the Bulldog lead to 57-50 with 5:26 remaining. UH would get no closer than that the rest of the way.

Sophomore forward Julian Sensley, who was suffering from a shoulder injury and did not practice for two days prior, took his first shot of the game with 3:21 left. He finished with one points, five rebounds, and five assists.

The 'Bows next host preseason WAC favorite Nevada, Monday, Jan. 5. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.

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