Juan Villa / The Collegian
The Fresno State menâ€™s basketball team is off to a 2-1 start in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play, after a non-conference schedule that had its ups and downs.
The â€™Dogs had a surprise loss to new Division I team Cal State Bakersfield. The team also lost to powerhouses St. Maryâ€™s, Arizona, Stanford and UNLV.
â€œFact is that many of those games we did not win,â€ coach Steve Cleveland said. â€œBut we were competitive. I think if we did take anything, itâ€™s the confidence that weâ€™re going to continue to get better.â€
Despite the losses at the beginning of the season, the â€˜Dogs were able to pull a victory against Big West foe University of Pacific. Entering league play, the team has a winning record attributed to big play from various players.
â€œAt any given time Tyson [Parker], Bryan Harvey, Hector [Hernandez], or Ned [Golubovic] step up and make big shots and do whatever it takes for us to win a game,â€ senior guard Eddie Miller said. â€œAlong with them making big plays like they always do weâ€™ll be fine.â€
Miller has done his fair share of stepping up as well. Miller currently leads the WAC in 3-point field goals made with 3.47 3-pointers per game.
Senior guard Kevin Bell has stepped up also. Bell leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points a game, is second in the WAC with six assists per game and leads the conference in minutes played per game averaging, 36.9.
â€œThe bottom line is he has to be on the floor, he is our most valuable player,â€ Cleveland said. â€œHe just makes things happen.â€
â€œItâ€™s my last year so anytime I can play a lot of minutes at the Save Mart Center or anywhere in my last year is a wonderful feeling,â€ Bell said. â€œI enjoy playing all these minutes and Iâ€™m going to keep playing.â€
Though players have expressed that things are going well, Bell said they still havenâ€™t completely meshed yet.
â€œWe havenâ€™t even talked about Hector [Hernandez] yet, and once Hector gets going we will really be a dominant force,â€ Bell said. â€œWeâ€™re headed on the right path, but we still have a lot of work to do if we want to take the WAC because there are a lot of good teams in it.â€
â€œIf we expect to win there weâ€™re going to have to play well,â€ Cleveland said. â€œI think there are two or three teams in the league that have established themselves as having the most talent, depth, and experience, and weâ€™re not one of those teams. But it doesnâ€™t mean we canâ€™t compete with those teams, it doesnâ€™t mean we canâ€™t beat those teams.â€