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Men’s Basketball: ‘Dogs return home, beat San Diego Christian 92-59

After dropping its match against Pacific, the Fresno State men’s basketball team defeated the San Diego Christian Hawks 92-59 at the Save Mart Center on Monday.

It was the third game in a row where the Bulldogs had at least five players with double-digit points. In this game, six Fresno State players were in that category.

Senior guard Tyler Johnson led the team with 19 points and was 8-10 from the field. Guard Cezar Guerrero had 11 in the contest, and freshman Paul Watson added 10.

“We echoed [sharing the basketball] to the team,” said Fresno State coach Rodney Terry. “We’re really trying to have more assists this year, and that’s due to the guys learning to trust their teammates.”

Fresno State (4-2) scored first in the contest, when Cezar Guerrero made two free throws 20 seconds into the game. The Bulldogs’ lead increased to 19-2 with 10 minutes remaining in the half, with San Diego Christian (1-2) held to 1-14 from the field.

At the end of the first frame, Fresno State outscored San Diego Christian 44-20. Both teams scored more points in the second half, as the Bulldogs had 48 while the Hawks had 39.

“We know over the last couple of years that our identity has been strong defense,” Terry said, “and we’re going to continue to play hard. But we also want to get up and down the floor. We still have a lot to grow with that, but I’m pleased with what we did tonight.”

Sophomore guard Marvelle Harris finished the game with 17 points and five rebounds, while shooting 7-10 from the field. Eleven of his points came in the second half alone, in which he only played eight minutes.

“We all know what we have to do to help the team,” Harris said. “In games like this we just do what we have to do to get better.”

Freshman forward Karachi Edo earned his first career double-double (10 rebounds, 10 points) and added five blocks to be the Bulldogs’ defensive leader.

“[Karachi] gets the whole team fired up,” Harris said. “He’s very athletic.”

With nine minutes left in the contest, Johnson had an awkward landing while making his way to the basket. After talking with the trainer on the sideline, he was assisted off the court with his ankle taped up.

“[Tyler’s] a tough kid,” Terry said. “I’m hoping it’s not anything too serious that he can’t come back from. If I had to pick a tough guy on the team to come back from an injury, he would be the one.”

The bench also saw some action in toward the end of the contest. Redshirt freshman Broderick Newbill played nine minutes and scored six points. Guards Blake Williams and Michael Salazar played seven minutes each and combined for two points and two rebounds.

“I’m rooting for all of [the players on the bench],” Harris said. “It’s very exciting to see them get down and play hard defense.”

“Those guys make our [starters] better,” Terry said, “because in practice they are the unsung heroes who do a great job with the scout team. Anytime we need them to get out and defend, they do it without blinking.”

Up next for the Bulldogs is the Fresno State Classic this weekend, where they will host Drake University (Friday, 7 p.m.), Cal State Bakersfield (Saturday, 7 p.m.) and Northern Arizona (Sunday, 2 p.m.).

“I think anytime you get a chance to stay at home is always to your advantage,” Terry said. “We have quality opponents coming in, and we know that we will have to take each game and each possession as they come.

“I told the guys that we will basically have an NBA schedule. We will play back-to-back nights and we’re going to see how much we can grow as a team.”