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Senior forward Cullen Russo (#13) hangs on the rim after finishing a breakaway dunk in a game against the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 at the Save Mart Center.” (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Bulldogs ready to begin quest for Mountain West

Bulldogs hoops is set to return to the Save Mart Center with the women’s team (7-4) set to face off New Mexico Thursday, Dec. 29 and the men (8-4) taking on Nevada on New Year’s eve.

The women will be returning to action after beating Weber State 60-57 on Dec. 19 in Ogden, Utah. The ’Dogs trailed the Wildcats by six points at the half, fought their way back to capture the lead in the third quarter and hold on long enough to secure a victory.

Junior center Bego Faz Davalos had her ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Sophomore guard Candice White added 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

The win came after a heartbreaking loss a couple nights before at home on Dec. 16 against UC Santa Barbara falling 50-49. UC Santa Barbara point guard Drea Toler was able to win the game for the Gauchos as she hit a shot just inside the 3-point line as time expired.

Fresno State walks off the court in defeat after UC Santa Barbara point guard Drea Toler hit the game-winning shot for the Gauchos as time expired. The Bulldogs lost 50-49 at home on Dec. 16, 2016. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Fresno State walks off the court in defeat after UC Santa Barbara point guard Drea Toler hit the game-winning shot for the Gauchos as time expired. The Bulldogs lost 50-49 at home on Dec. 16, 2016. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

The team begins Mountain West play on Thursday night at home against New Mexico at 7 p.m. The ’Dogs will then travel to take on the Nevada Wolfpack on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.

The Fresno State men’s team also went 1-1 in their last two contests defeating Pacific 70-68 in overtime on Dec. 17 and losing a competitive game against No. 20 Oregon 75-63 on Dec. 20. Both games were on the road.

The ’Dogs found themselves down 14 points to the Ducks at halftime. Fresno State started the second half on a 15-6 run and were able to get within five points against the Ducks, but Oregon’s Jordan Bell was too much for the ’Dogs as he went for a career-high 23 points. When the Bulldogs pulled within three, 53-50, midway through the second half, Bell responded by scoring five straight points.

The game against Oregon saw senior forward Karachi Edo make his return to the court. Edo had 12 points and seven rebounds in his season debut.

Senior forward Paul Watson added 15 points, seven rebounds and one block. Junior guard Jaron Hopkins nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Bulldogs played an overtime thriller on Dec. 17 defeating the Pacific Tigers 70-68 in Stockton, California.

Junior guard Jahmel Taylor hit a 3-point shot with five seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 63 and force the game into overtime.

Watson made a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left and that was enough to win the game after Pacific’s Maleke Haynes and Jack Williams couldn’t tip the ball back in after a missed jumper by Ray Bowles as time ran out.

Watson finished the game with 18 points. Senior forward Cullen Russo and freshman center Bryson Williams both added 13 points each.

The men will begin conference play on the road against New Mexico Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. before returning to the Save Mart Center on New Year’s eve. The game will air live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and 940 AM ESPN Radio. Fresno State will then host Nevada on Saturday at 4 p.m.