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Senior guard Jahmel Taylor with the ball against California State University, Bakersfield on Dec. 5, 2017 at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs won 70-55. (Alejandro Soto/The Collegian)

‘Dogs win the Battle for the 99

Fresno State men’s basketball was able to score another double-digit victory with its 70-55 win against California State University, Bakersfield on Tuesday in the Battle for the 99 at the Save Mart Center.

The win extends the Bulldogs’ win streak to five games after coming off of a 36-point drubbing of Long Beach State in southern California on Saturday.

Guard Deshon Taylor led the ‘Dogs with 19 points on 4-of-10 shooting and 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. Six of those points came in the first half.

The first half was a brutal, slow and grinding style of basketball that saw 14 fouls combined between the two teams, but that only translated into four free throw attempts for the Bulldogs.

The ‘Dogs took just a two-point lead into halftime, 28-26, but that lead would begin to swell early in the second half.

Guard Ray Bowles Jr., who had a relatively quiet first half, took it upon himself to give his team an extra jolt coming into the second half. Bowles scored two quick buckets within the first couple of minutes to provide a lift that helped propel his team forward and extend the lead.

Bringing energy is something that Bowles said he takes pride in.

“I try to take pride in [defense], do whatever I can,” Bowles said. “I knew that I didn’t have a good first half, so I knew that I had to come out in the second half and play harder and bring the team as much energy as I can. That is what I did.”

Taylor said that when he and the rest of the team play good defense, it helps them get out into transition and score easy baskets.

“Everyone was playing hard,” Taylor said. “That is kind of our game, ins to get out and push the ball. As long as we get stops we can keep doing that.”

The Bulldogs only managed to score four fastbreak points in the game, but many of the defensive stops still turned into points on the other end of the floor.

All told, the Bulldogs scored 19 points off of turnovers and an additional 11 points on second chance opportunities.

Those second chance opportunities were a direct result of Fresno State’s dominance on the backboard.

After beng outrebounded by five in the first half, the ‘Dogs put their paws down in the second half by crushing Bakersfield 29-11 in the second half.

Head coach Rodney Terry said that he went into the game expecting that it would be a hard-fought and intense physical matchup between two very tough teams.

“We knew that this was going to be a grinding game. Bakersfield is a team that is going to play the same when they are up or down,” Terry said. “They are going to keep playing for 40 minutes, and we knew that we were going to have to do that, and our guys responded well to that.”

Senior center Terrell Carter II anchored the second unit for the Bulldogs with 16 points off of the bench, and sophomore forward Bryson Williams had his third career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Fresno State now has a few days off before its next game Saturday at Cal Poly. The team’s record improves to 7-2.