'Bows Suffer First Loss of Season

FRESNO, Calif. - Chris Berry's two free throws with 27.1 seconds left gave Fresno State a 79-78 victory over Hawai'i, Wednesday night, in both teams' Western Athletic Conference opener at the Save Mart Center.

The loss was the first for the Rainbow Warriors in nine games this season, while the Bulldogs halted a three-game skid. After Deonte Tatum made one of two free throws with 49.5 seconds left, which put UH up by one, Berry was fouled by Milos Zivanovic. Berry's free throws gave Fresno State the lead while the 'Bows had the ball and the last possession. However Jeff Blackett's 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short. Junior Julian Sensley matched his season-high with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting and six rebounds. Blackett nearly posted a triple-double with 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Sophomore guard Matt Gibson came off the bench and scored 10 points. As a team, the 'Bows (8-1, 0-1) shot 49.2 percent from the field and dished out a season-high 24 assists. UH also committed just six turnovers while the Bulldogs had eight, including none in the second half. The Bulldogs (7-3, 1-0) were led by the duo of Ja'Vance Coleman and Donovon Morris, who each scored 20 points. Coleman also had six rebounds before fouling out with under a minute to play. Morris scored 14 in the second half and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, including 5-of-5 from 3-point range. UH took a quick 6-0 lead through the first four minutes of the game. The 'Bows pushed their lead to 13-6 and 19-9 after Sensley's first bucket. With the 'Bows ahead 21-12 with under eight minutes to play, the pace quickened with each team trading blows. The Bulldogs closed to within five but UH extended it to 11 with a 6-0 run. Hawaii maintained that lead and went into the locker room with a 41-32 halftime lead. Sensley had a team-high eight points while the 'Bows scored a season-high 41 first half points. UH struggled to start the second half as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to three (47-44) before Blackett got hot and stretched the lead back to nine with consecutive jumpers. The Bulldogs finally caught the 'Bows and tied the game at 61 with four straight points by Coleman at the free throw line and a Morris lay-up with 8:20 to play. Fresno State took its first lead after a Coleman lay-up and went up by three before Sensley's 3-pointer from the left wing tied it at 71 with 4:04 remaining. Al-Sayyad converted three free throws on the Bulldogs' ensuing possessions but Sensley's second 3-pointer in crunch time tied it at 74 with 2:17 left. On UH's next possession, Gibson drained a trey but Morris matched it to tie the game at 77 with 1:22 on the clock. The start was the best in more than 30 years for Hawai'i. The 'Bows continue their WAC-opening road trip at Nevada, Saturday. The New Year's Day game will be televised live on ESPN2 at 9:00 p.m. PST at the Lawlor Events Center.

Warrior Sports Network Top Stories