HONOLULU, HI - Kodi Augustus recorded his sixth double-double of the year and Jalen Steele had a career-high 14 points, but it wasn't enough as Hawaii jumped out to a 12-0 lead and never looked back en route to posting a 68-57 victory on Saturday in the fifth-place game of the Diamond Head Classic.
The Rainbow Warriors (9-3) led by as many as 22 points in the second frame at 51-29 before the Bulldogs put together a late run to close the deficit.
MSU, playing without suspended forwards Elgin Bailey and Renardo Sidney, now stand at 8-5 on the year and leaves for Las Vegas on Monday morning to face St. Mary's on Dec. 29 in the Shamrock Shootout.
And due to the absence of Sidney and Bailey, sophomore Wendell Lewis was inserted into the lineup for the first time in his career.
"Emotionally, we just weren't there," 13-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "But we're not going to use that as an excuse. I did like the way we battled back in the second half and didn't quit. You know, we missed just too many shots. Wide open shots. But give Hawaii a lot of credit. They made plays and took advantage of us inside."
The Warriors scored 30 points in the paint and were led overall by Zane Johnson's 19 points, followed by Hiram Thompson at 14.
They also took advantage of the slow start by the Bulldogs, who missed their first seven shots to open the game.
Overall, MSU was 17-of-63 shooting. Ravern Johnson, who poured in 12 points, hit 4 of his 17 shots and drained two 3-pointers after not making any for the first time this season on Thursday against San Diego.
Hawaii was 23 of 52 and 6 of 24 from long range.
"We aren't going to make any excuses," said Augustus, who hauled in 11 rebounds. "We just didn't play like we are supposed to. We've just got to bounce back."
Hawaii led 42-23 at the break. For the game, the Warriors won the rebounding battle. 41-36. The Bulldogs did have 18 offensive boards and totaled 13 second-chance points.