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Win streak halted in Fresno

Closing the regular season with five wins in six games could still be considered momentum for the Hawaii basketball team.

But that momentum came to a momentary halt on Saturday night as Fresno State defeated the Warriors, 85-70, in a Western Athletic Conference game at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.

It was the regular-season finale for both teams, and both will move on to the WAC Tournament next week at Las Vegas.

Hawaii, which entered the game with a five-game winning streak, dropped to 18-11 overall and finished in fifth place in the WAC at 8-8. Fresno State improved to 14-16 overall, and finished in seventh place in the WAC at 6-10.

“We’re not hanging our heads; we got beat. They beat us,” Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold said. “They played better than us and earned it. But we’ve done some really good things. We’re not going to let 20 minutes change our season. We’re going to learn from it and we’ll be better because of it.”

Hawaii will be the No. 5 seed for the WAC Tournament, and will play No. 8 seed San Jose State in the first round on Wednesday. The game is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (Hawaii time) at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

If anything, the Warriors want to leave the game at Fresno State in their rear-view mirror.

Fresno State went on a 14-0 run early in the game to take a 19-4 lead, and Hawaii was never able to recover. The Bulldogs eventually took a 46-28 lead at halftime, and increased the lead to as many as 21 early in the second half.

The Warriors got as close as 10 points in the closing minutes, but it was too little, too late.

“We took their best shot today and we really couldn’t recover,” Arnold said. “We didn’t quite have the bounce, the legs, that we’ve had a lot. And they were real good. We just dug ourselves too deep a hole and couldn’t get back out.”

Zane Johnson once again led the Warriors in scoring, finishing with 21 points, including 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. It pushed his season total for 3-pointers to 94, which is three shy of the UH single-season record set by Michael Kuebler in 2004.

Bill Amis added 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots, and Joston Thomas had 10 points and seven rebounds.

But it was hardly enough as the Bulldogs dominated near the basket. Led by center Greg Smith’s 16 points and 16 rebounds, Fresno State out-rebounded Hawaii, 43-30.

The Bulldogs also went 26 of 42 on free throws, while Hawaii was 10 of 18. It was also only the second time this season that the Warriors allowed an opponent to score 80 or more points.

“They had one of those nights,” Arnold said. “They were really good and we weren’t.
It is what it is. Every once in a while you have one of those.”

Among other Warriors: Miah Ostrowski contributed nine points and three assists; Trevor Wiseman had seven points and three rebounds; Vander Joaquim had six points and two rebounds while playing just 16 minutes.

The Warriors will remain on the road, and are scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas on Sunday.

4 Comments

  1. Fresno got 42 FTAs. 42!

    Loss didnʻt affect seeding that much anyway, so weʻre OK. This is what can happen when Joaquim gets in foul trouble.

    Iʻll take San Jose first round. One man shows donʻt go far in tourney play.

  2. Sorry, no “Excellent Adventure” videos to post today.

    The traveling correspondents did shoot some video from the past few days, but having problems transmitting.

    Hope to have it resolved soon so can post more videos on Sunday or Monday.

  3. Tough loss. I think it would have helped psychologically if they could have gotten it back to a single digit lead. Hopefully they’ll take the hit, learn from it and show up big for the tournament.

    Thanks for the updates Dayton. Always going above and beyond for us.

  4. Well, let’s hope they can regroup against San Jose. Go Warriors!

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