HONOLULU – Zane Johnson had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead Hawaii over short-handed Mississippi State 68-57 in the fifth-place game of the Diamond Head Classic on Saturday, the first game for the Bulldogs since two players were suspended for fighting in the stands.
The Rainbow Warriors (9-3) controlled the inside and the game against the Bulldogs, whose top big men Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey were suspended indefinitely by the school.
Sidney and Elgin were involved in a fist fight after the Bulldogs' game Thursday night. The altercation, captured by cameras, lasted for several minutes before being broken up by teammates and coaches.
With Bailey and Sidney out, Kodi Augustus and Wendell Lewis were the tallest players for the Bulldogs at 6-foot-8. Augustus had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Mississippi State (8-5), which shot 27 from the field and was outrebounded 41-36 by the small, finesse team.
Hawaii outscored Mississippi State 30-12 in the paint.
Hiram Thompson added 15 points on 2 of 10 shooting from the field and 10 of 10 from the free throw line for Hawaii. Vander Joaquim scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Bailey and Sidney were suspended and sent home early from Hawaii.
"I want to apologize to Mississippi State, to the people in Hawaii and to the fans that were in the stands that witnessed everything," Bailey said. "Due to me being a captain, I should have handled the situation in a much different way. It should have never gotten to the point that it did. I really am sorry that all of this happened, especially with it unfolding on TV like it did."
Sidney said, "I apologize for embarrassing my family, all the Mississippi State fans, my teammates and coaches. I will learn from this and move on."
MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement that the "athletic staff, coaches and student-athletes have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that brings credit and honor to our university."
"The actions that took place Thursday night in Hawaii were embarrassing to all of us who love Mississippi State University and our athletic program. This behavior will not be tolerated," he said.
Sidney, a 6-foot-10 sophomore who was one of the most highly recruited players of the 2009 class, has averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in two games this season. Bailey, a 6-foot-8 junior, has started 10 of 11 games and is averaging 6.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.
In Saturday's game, Trevor Wiseman's lay-in gave the Rainbow Warriors a 53-31 lead with 15 minutes left. But 3s by Augustus, Ravern Johnson and Jalen Steele during an 11-2 run cut the lead to 14 with 12:10 left. Steele finished with 14 points.
The Bulldogs didn't get on the board until 5½ minutes in on Steele's 3 from the top of the key. Hawaii opened the game with a 12-0 run.
The Rainbow Warriors closed the half with four free throws by Thompson to take a 42-23 lead.
Jeremiah Ostrowski, who caught two passes for 72 yards for Hawaii in its 62-35 loss to Tulsa in Friday night's Hawaii Bowl, played two minutes in his first action for the basketball team.
Ostrowski recently joined the Rainbow Warriors after two guards left the team.
The Bulldogs travel to Las Vegas to face St. Mary's on Wednesday. Sidney and Bailey won't be with the team. Mississippi State will open SEC play on Jan. 8 at home against Alabama.