Dec. 13, 2008
In a battle of leading scorers for their respective teams, the performance of Eastern Washington University guard Benny Valentine was trumped by Hawaii’s Roderick Flemings as the Rainbow Warriors defeated the Eagles 75-55 late Saturday (Dec. 13) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Valentine, a 5-foot-7 point guard who entered the game leading the Big Sky Conference with an average of 19.0 points per game, had his first career double-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. But his teammates had only 11 rebounds as the Eagles were out-rebounded 34-23 in the game.
The 6-foot-7 Flemings scored 37 points on 16-of-23 shooting after entering the game leading Hawaii in scoring with a 17.0 average. He scored 15 points in the first half, then had 22 of his team’s first 33 points in the second half. He also had four assists and five rebounds.
Runs of 11-3 and 11-2 in the first half helped the Rainbow Warriors take the lead for good, and runs of 6-0 and 12-0 in the second half turned the game into a blowout.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak that had helped EWU to their best start since the 2002-03 season. Eastern is now 6-3 while the Rainbow Warriors improved to 4-3.
Saturday’s game was the first of five non-conference games in a 17-day stretch for EWU prior to resuming conference play on Jan. 2 at Northern Arizona. Eastern sandwiches home games against Missouri Kansas City (Dec. 18) and Evergreen State (Dec. 22) around a difficult test at Washington of the Pacific 10 Conference (Dec. 20).
Hawaii’s starting front line of Flemings, 6-9 Bill Amis and 6-8 Petras Balocka combined for 57 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Eastern’s starting front line of 6-9 Brandon Moore, 6-8 Mark Dunn and 6-3 Andy Genao had just 20 points and six boards. In the first half, Hawaii’s front line had 28 points and seven rebounds compared to six points and one rebound for EWU’s.
Moore was the only other Eagle in double figures with 10 points, and Milan Stanojevic had nine points on a trio of three-pointers. Eastern made 44 percent of its shots from the field compared to 51 percent for Hawaii, which also forced 17 EWU turnovers.
The game marked the season debut for returning starter Adris DeLeon and junior college transfer Chris Busch, a pair of projected starters who missed the first eight games of the season. Both were officially cleared to play on Friday (Dec. 12) after final exams are completed and grades submitted. DeLeon had three points and a pair of assists in 12 minutes and Busch had 11 rebounds and one assist.
Eastern led early 13-9, but Hawaii went on an 11-3 run to take the lead for good at 20-16. After Eastern cut the lead to 24-22, an 11-2 run helped the Rainbow Warriors open a 35-24 advantage. Eastern went 4:42 without scoring during that stretch and trailed at halftime 38-26 as Valentine had 12 of EWU’s points and seven of the team’s 10 rebounds.
The Eagles scored the first seven points of the second half to pull within five, but a 6-0 run gave Hawaii a 44-33 advantage. The closest Eastern came after that was 50-44 before the Rainbow Warriors put the game away with a 12-0 run as the Eagles went 4:31 without a point.