Sports Notebook


Fresno center comes
up big again vs. UH

FRESNO, Calif. >> Fresno State center Mustafa Al-Sayyad's 24 points played a pivotal role in the Bulldogs' 69-60 win over Hawaii last night.

But for Fresno State coach Ray Lopes, it was another number that provided a true indication of Al-Sayyad's effort.

"The biggest thing is he's really playing hard," Lopes said. "I can always tell with my big guys, if they're getting me rebounds, I know they're playing hard, and he got me 11 tonight."

For the second time this season, the junior from the Sudan frustrated the Rainbow Warriors in the post. Al-Sayyad had 13 points and 15 rebounds in Fresno State's 69-58 win in Honolulu on Jan. 3. He followed with a career-high in points last night to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.

"He's just strong," UH forward Julian Sensley said. "He's very athletic and long. We should have played him more aggressively."

Al-Sayyad and FSU point guard Shantay Legans accounted for 27 of the Bulldogs' 31 points in the second half.

UH cut FSU's 12-point halftime lead to three on two occasions in the second half, but Legans and Al-Sayyad combined to snuff the rally.

"We got it down to three and Legans hit a big shot and Mustafa got some rebounds and that crushed us right there," UH guard Logan Lee said.

Tournament time: By the time the teams took the floor at the Save Mart Center, their places in the WAC tournament were already secured.

Hawaii was locked into the fifth seed after Boise State beat Texas-El Paso and Rice defeated Southern Methodist earlier in the day.

Hawaii will open its run for a third WAC tournament title in the last four years by taking on Rice in a quarterfinal game Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

Fresno State wrapped up sixth place thanks to Tulsa's victory over Louisiana Tech.

The tournament opens Tuesday with two play-in games pitting SMU against Tulsa and Louisiana Tech against San Jose State.

Hawaii will be on the same side of the bracket as top-seeded Nevada, which plays the winner of the SMU-Tulsa game on Thursday.

On the other side, the Louisiana Tech-San Jose State winner takes on No. 2 UTEP in one quarterfinal and Boise State plays Fresno State.

Thursday's winners advance to the semifinals on Friday. The championship game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.

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