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Thursday, December 30, 2004



FRESNO STATE 79, HAWAII 78




art
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Fresno State's Dominque White celebrated his team's 79-78 comeback win yesterday in front of Hawaii's Matt Gibson.




’Bows panic,
Bulldogs win

Hawaii settles for a 3-pointer
by Blackett at the buzzer and
drops its first game of the season

FRESNO, Calif. » So long, undefeated season.

Unbeaten but largely untested during nonleague play, the Hawaii basketball team absorbed a painful lesson in late execution yesterday, losing 79-78 to Fresno State in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

After Chris Berry made two free throws with 27.1 seconds left to push Fresno State ahead, the Rainbow Warriors "panicked" before a raucous crowd of 11,768.

At least that's the word forward Julian Sensley used and repeated to describe what took place in the final seconds, and resulted in Jeff Blackett's errant 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"We didn't execute toward the end -- I think everyone kind of panicked," Sensley said after scoring a game-high 23 points on nine of 15 shooting. "It was just a panic situation."

Needing one point to force overtime and two for the victory, UH worked the ball around the perimeter until Blackett gained possession with about 5 seconds left. While drawing contact on Berry, Blackett's 3-pointer grazed the net as time expired.

Neither Blackett, nor UH coach Riley Wallace expected the referees to whistle a foul on Berry.

"At the end of the game, you can't expect a foul," said Blackett, who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. "It was probably the right call."

Added Wallace, "(The referees) are not going to give you the call in that situation."

Ja'Vance Coleman and Donovan Morris scored 20 points apiece for Fresno State (7-3 overall, 1-0 WAC), which snapped a three-game skid.

The Rainbow Warriors (8-1, 0-1) lost for the 11th time in 13 tries inside the 559 area code and dropped to 0-3 all-time at the year-old Save Mart Center. UH lost twice on the Bulldogs' new home court last season, including a 70-68 defeat to Rice in the WAC tournament quarterfinals.

"It seems every time I come in this building, I do well but the team loses," said Sensley, a former Fresno State student who never suited up for the Bulldogs.

UH seemed to have the game well in hand, leading by a comfortable margin until midway through the second half.

Sensley, after missing his first four shots, got hot from the outside, while Blackett and Matthew Gipson contributed drives and jumpers.

Then everything went awry.

Shots stopped falling, and Fresno State started driving to the hoop and drawing fouls. The Bulldogs made 13 of 14 free throws down the stretch and did not commit a second-half turnover.

"We kind of broke down," Sensley said. "They got up under us and started playing better defense. Then the crowd got into it. The guards called plays, but we couldn't really hear them."

Trailing the entire game, Fresno State finally caught up at 63-63 when Morris drove the lane, floated across the key and threw in an off-balance layup.

The final 7 minutes, 55 seconds featured five ties and three lead changes.

After Gipson's 3-pointer with 1:36 left put UH ahead 77-74, Morris answered 15 seconds later with a 3 of his own.

Deonte Tatum then made one of two free throws with 49.5 seconds left, giving the Rainbows their final lead.

Wallace dismissed the notion UH was due to lose a close game after several narrow victories.

"It has nothing to do with the odds catching up to us," Wallace said. "Winning and losing on the road is going to come down to execution on offense."

Early on, execution didn't look to be a problem as the Rainbows opened a 6-0 lead and kept Fresno State at a comfortable distance throughout the first half.

UH went ahead 19-9 with 8:46 remaining when Tatum intercepted an entry pass intended for Fresno State center Mustafa Al-Sayyad, raced up the court and found Sensley underneath for an easy layup.

The Rainbows swarmed Al-Sayyad with double teams each time he touched the ball. Al-Sayyad, who averaged 18.5 points and 13 rebounds against UH last season, managed 15 points and five boards thanks to a late surge.

"Preseason is over," Fresno State coach Ray Lopes said. "We talked about this game as a new season."

That goes for Hawaii as well.

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Fresno State 79, Hawaii 78

Warriors (8-1, 0-1 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Blackett 7 13 3 4 40 9 8 18
Sensley 9 15 3 4 35 6 3 23
Botez 4 6 0 0 18 4 0 8
Tatum 3 4 1 2 31 3 4 7
Nash 1 7 0 0 29 4 2 3
Gibson 3 6 2 3 16 0 3 10
Sottos 0 0 0 0 0+ 0 0 0
Gipson 3 9 2 3 18 5 2 9
Groce 0 1 0 0 4 1 1 0
Zivanovic 0 0 0 0 4 1 1 0
Peciukas 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
TEAM




1
Totals 30 61 11 16 200 34 24 78


Bulldogs (7-3, 1-0 WAC)

fg fga ft fta min reb a tp
Bouldin 2 2 0 0 8 1 0 5
Hernandez 1 2 0 0 16 0 0 3
Al-Sayyad 4 8 7 10 33 5 3 15
Bell 2 4 0 4 19 2 3 4
Coleman 5 17 9 10 29 7 6 20
Ross 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Morris 7 7 1 2 22 2 1 20
O'Neil 3 6 0 1 20 1 1 6
Marlow 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 2
Berry 0 1 2 4 29 7 3 2
White 1 3 0 0 21 4 3 2
TEAM




3
Totals 26 51 19 31 200 32 20 79

Key--fg: field goals; fga: field goals attempted; ft: free throws; fta: free throws attempted; min: minutes; reb: rebounds; a: assists; tp: total points.
Halftime--Hawaii 41, Fresno State 32.
3-point goals--Hawaii 7-13 (Sensley 2-3, Gibson 2-4, Blackett 1-2, Nash 1-2, Gipson 1-2) Fresno St. 8-15 (Morris 5-5, Bouldin 1-1, Hernandez 1-1, Coleman 1-8). Personal fouls--Hawaii 21, Fresno St. 12. Fouled out--Botez, Coleman. Technical foul--None.
Steals--Hawaii 5 (Tatum 2, Sensley, Botez, Gibson), Fresno St. 4 (Al-Sayyad 2, Bell, Berry). Blocked shots--Hawaii 3 (Blackett, Sensley, Botez), Fresno St. 2 (Al-Sayyad 2). Turnovers--Hawaii 6 (Gibson 3, Botez 2, Tatum), Fresno St. 8 (Bouldin 2, Al-Sayyad, Bell, Coleman, O'Neil, Marlow, White). Officials--Bob Sitov, Bobby Jacobs, Winston Stith. Attendance--11,768.



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