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HONOLULU -- Senior guard Roderick Flemings scored 23 points and grabbed a 12 rebounds to lead Hawaii (1-0) past Southern Utah 65-48 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii Friday night, handing the Thunderbird men's basketball team a loss in their first game of the season.
SUU (0-1) actually had a lead midway through the second half at 36-35 with 12:10 left, but fell victim to a 19-6 run in the next eight minutes. From there the T-Birds were only able to close within nine points of the Rainbow Warriors before losing by 17 points.
"To play a good basketball game, you have to play 40 minutes of good basketball and we played 32 good minutes and the other minutes killed us," SUU Assistant Head Coach Ron Carling said in a post-game interview with Power 91 Radio's Art Challis.
"We had our moments and we did some things we liked, but we got outrebounded so bad it was just bad."
Hawaii outrebounded the T-Birds 41-26 in the game, including 20-8 on offensive rebounds. The Warriors also forced 18 turnovers in the contest and took advantage of 21 personal fouls by SUU.
The T-Birds fell behind early, trailing by as much as 30-17 with three minutes left in the first half, but SUU used a 10-2 run in the final minutes of the half to bring the team within five points of Hawaii.
Senior guard Davis Baker made a jump shot with three seconds before halftime to make the score 32-27 at the break.
The T-Birds outscored Hawaii 11-3 in the first eight minutes after halftime to take its only lead of the game (36-35), but eventually the SUU fouls and lack of rebounds fueled the run that guided Hawaii to the victory.
Baker led all T-Bird scorers with 14 points (6-for-17 from the field) in the losing effort, while sophomore forward Matt Massey finished with nine points and led all SUU players with nine rebounds.
Sophomore guard Jake Nielson added eight points for the T-Birds, while senior guard Drew Allen picked up two steals in the loss.
Flemings' 23 points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive) were both game-highs in a winning effort, while two other Warriors finished with double-digit numbers in scoring.
Junior guard Dwain Williams chipped in with 16 points and fellow junior guard Jeremy Lay added 11 more to help Hawaii in the victory.
Senior center Petras Balocka ended the game with seven points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors.
SUU will return to action in the Rainbow Classic with a matchup with Northern Colorado (1-0) Sunday in Honolulu.
The Bears knocked off McNeese State 101-73 Friday in a matchup prior to the T-Birds' 65-48 loss to Hawaii.
Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. Mountain) against Northern Colorado.