The Fresno State men’s basketball team returned home to host the 29th annual Fresno State Classic, in which it hosted Drake University, the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners and Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
After an 84-74 loss to Drake, the Bulldogs fought the Roadrunners and Lumberjacks to overtime victories.They finished the Classic 2-1 and in second place.
“We’ve talked about working these games for 40 minutes, and this team has taken it to the extreme by now,” said Fresno State coach Rodney Terry.
Drake 84, Fresno State 74
Drake came into the tournament 4-1, and were seeking to begin a new win streak.
Fresno State was led by Harris’s career-high five 3-pointers, finishing with 26 points in the contest. The Bulldogs saw themselves down 37-35 at the half, but tied the game at 42.
Drake was again on top, but Fresno State crawled back to tie at 56, then took its first lead at 61-60 through a Karachi Edo dunk. Afterward, the visitors gained control of the contest, and outscored the Bulldogs 24-13 to win the game.
It was Fresno State’s first home loss this season.
Fresno State 96, CSU Bakersfield 86 (OT)
The Roadrunners began the tournament with a victory over Northern Arizona. They were seeking to extend their six-game winning streak.
And they were close to doing so, as Fresno State squandered its lead in the final half of play.
Fresno State had a 17-point lead with 12:03 left in the second half when Bakersfield put on a 40-23 rally to tie the game at 81 with 7 seconds left. The Bulldogs were unable to bring the ball down the court to score as time expired.
In overtime, Alex Davis and Cezar Guerrero put on five points apiece to aid the Bulldogs’ 15-5 run. Harris’ two free throws in the period gave Fresno State the 85-84 lead with 2:19 remaining. Afterward, the Bulldogs held off the Roadrunners and a rebound by Harris with 2 seconds left ended the game and secured the Bulldogs’ victory.
Six Bulldogs were in double figures in the contest, and Huddleston led the pack with a career-high 23 points. Guerrero added 22 points, and Paul Watson added 14.
Harris also scored his first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) in 45 minutes played.
Fresno State 71, Northern Arizona 67 (OT)
Next on the list were the 2-5 Lumberjacks, who were 0-2 in the tournament going into the match.
Northern Arizona jumped up to a 15-5 lead and held off the Bulldogs to go into the half with a 32-30 lead. Harris led the team with eight points, while he and Davis had five rebounds apiece. The Bulldogs also had seven turnovers in the first half, which turned into seven points for the Lumberjacks.
In the second half, the Bulldogs took control of their possessions and only committed two turnovers. Harris had 15 points, including the game-tying shots at the 1:34 mark and again with 5 seconds left in the contest.
With five seconds left on the clock, Northern Arizona guard Kris Yanku missed his jumper to send the game into overtime.
With 1:14 left in the overtime period, Davis made a free-throw shot to tie the contest at 67. Afterward, Guerrero hit a long-distance jumper that, after review, was a 2-pointer to give Fresno State the 69-67 lead. The Bulldogs were able to hold off Northern Arizone for the remaining 30 seconds to win their second straight overtime matchup.
“We’re a work in progress,” Terry said. “I think that you’re going to see us improve defensively all year long, once the guys understand how urgent they need to cover the other side of the court.”
With the Classic now complete, the Bulldogs will head to Salt Lake City for a road contest against the Utah Utes on Dec. 7.