The Fresno State men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking double-overtime loss on Ag Night to the Nevada Wolf Pack. Three of the last four matchups between the two have been decided in overtime.
With 14 seconds left in regulation, Fresno State forward Paul Watson sunk a 3-pointer to give Fresno State a 76-74 lead and what seemed to be the nail in the coffin. Shortly after, Nevada standout guard Deonte Burton found a hole in the defense and executed a layup to tie things up and send the game into overtime.
Fresno State had another opportunity to end the game in the first overtime, when senior Allen Huddleston banked in a free-throw shot to take an 82-80 lead with 10 ticks remaining. However, Nevada’s Cole Huff made a layup to tie things up again and send the game into a second overtime.
In the next period, the ‘Dogs were inconsistent in the free throw and rebounding departments, and the Wolf Pack took advantage of that. Nevada scored the first nine points of the period and held the ‘Dogs scoreless for 4:12 to win 96-86.
Not being able to close out the game was pretty much the story of the night for the Bulldogs. “Our guys had perfect execution on that [the 3-point shot],” said ‘Dogs head coach Rodney Terry. “And we did some things down the stretch in terms of execution to win the game. We’ve just got to close them out.”
The score was tied 13 times, including at halftime, the end of regulation, and at the end of the first overtime.
Nevada’s offense exploded as two players managed to score more than 30 points. Fueling the Wolf Pack’s strong offensive performance was the Mountain West points per game leader Burton. He had 32, while Cole Huff nearly doubled his career high with 31.
Defensively, A.J. West was the key for the Wolf Pack, as he blocked eight shots and finished with 13 rebounds.
“He [West] did a great job of protecting the rim for those guys,” Terry said.
The ‘Dogs had four players in double figures including Tyler Johnson and Marvelle Harris, who both had double-doubles. They finished the game combined for 38 points and 21 rebounds. Harris also reached a personal milestone, as the sophomore guard became the 31st Bulldog to reach 1,000 career points.
“It was tough [the loss], but we just got to stay together and move on to the next game and try to win that one,” Harris said.
Coach Terry’s unit has lost four conference games in a row. The Bulldogs’ window of opportunity is shrinking. They are 10th out of 11 teams in the Mountain West standings and 5 1/2 games out of first place.
“It is [a learning experience], and I think it’s tough for all of us, because we put a lot of work and labor into what we do, and our guys aren’t having anything to show for it,” Terry said. “I think the effort was there, now it’s about finishing.”
The Bulldogs look to end this four-game losing skid as they travel to Las Vegas this weekend to take on UNLV. This will be the second meeting this season between the two. The Rebels are coming into the game off a 20-point conference win over Utah State.