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Fresno State senior forward Paul Watson (#3) shoots over a Wyoming defender in a Mountain West conference game played at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Watson’s 25 helps lead ’Dogs over Wyoming

Paul Watson scored a season-high 25 points and the Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the Wyoming Cowboys 85-70 on Wednesday evening at the Save Mart Center.

The Bulldogs began the game shooting well and sharing the ball. Senior forward Karachi Edo controlled the paint providing strong defense in the post. Watson was aggressive from the start and continued that type of play throughout the game.

Fresno State senior forward Karachi Edo (#4) blocks Wyoming's Alexander Aka Gorski (#3) during a game at the Save Mart Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Fresno State senior forward Karachi Edo (#4) blocks Wyoming’s Alexander Aka Gorski (#3) during a game at the Save Mart Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

“I tried to put as much focus as I could on my defensive matchup, which would lead to my offensive game opening up,” Watson said. “It all starts on defense for me.”

Starters Cullen Russo and Jaron Hopkins got in foul trouble early but the ’Dogs got production off the bench from freshman forward Bryson Williams, junior center Terrell Carter and sophomore guard Deshon Taylor.

The 3-point shooting for the Cowboys kept them in the game and at the half Fresno State led 41-37. Watson had 14 points, Edo and Russo added nine apiece.

With under nine minutes to go, Watson finished a resounding and-one dunk to put the Bulldogs up 60-49.

Fresno State senior forward Paul Watson (#3) finishes strong and completes the dunk despite getting fouled against Wyoming's Jordan Naughton (#33) at the Save Mart Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Fresno State senior forward Paul Watson (#3) finishes strong and completes the dunk despite getting fouled against Wyoming’s Jordan Naughton (#33) at the Save Mart Center on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)

Wyoming would get as close as three points with under four minutes to go in the game, but the Bulldogs were able to pull away thanks to their defense and improved free throw shooting. Fresno State made 12 of its last 13 shots at the line to help secure the victory in front of a raucous Save Mart Center Crowd.

The win brings the ’Dogs to a 2-1 record in Mountain West conference play and puts them tied for second in the conference along with New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado State.

The Bulldogs (10-5, 2-1 Mountain West) will go on the road to face San Jose State (7-6, 0-2 MW) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Spartans are coming off a 76-71 loss to Colorado State at home.