Behind 20 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Nate Grimes, the Fresno State men’s basketball team set a school record after upending the Wyoming Cowboys 80-62 in a Mountain West Conference matchup in Laramie, Wyoming, on Saturday.
The Bulldogs’ 18-point win is now the largest margin of victory on the road in MWC play in Fresno State history.
“Nate is a guy who is gaining confidence, and the more he’s on the floor, with experience, he’s showing more of his skill set,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. “His energy and his activity was really good for us.”
Along with a double-double from Grimes, Ray Bowles Jr., Bryson Williams, Jaron Hopkins and Deshon Taylor each tallied double-digit scoring in Fresno State’s bounce-back win.
“Really good team win,” Terry said. “[I] thought start to finish [we] really defended hard. We knew we were going to have to come in with a lot of energy and activity, and I thought our guys did that for a better part of 40 minutes.”
After losing a tough match to conference-leader Nevada on Wednesday, the Bulldogs needed a win, and got it due in part to Grimes’ third double-double of his career.
“Coach Terry said he needed an offensive presence, and I brought it today,” Grimes said after his player of the game performance. “I’m just doing whatever I can for my team. I was just going to let loose and play. We played hard on defense, and everything fell into place for us.”
Fresno State jumped out to a dominant lead behind a 12-7 run. Bowles Jr. paced the Bulldogs early with eight of his 10 points, including two three’s.
The Bulldogs later pushed their lead to 13, 20-7, after Hopkins picked off a sloppy Wyoming pass for an easy two-handed transition dunk.
Fresno State capitalized on its first-half momentum to go on a 7-0 run with just under nine minutes left to play, including Taylor, who put his stamp on the first half with a deep 3 to push the lead to 18, 32-14.
Although Wyoming did its best to stay close, Fresno State’s 55.9 percent shooting extinguished any chance for the Cowboys to recover.
The halftime whistle sounded with the Bulldogs up 46-30, and they never looked back.
Williams put the icing on the cake for the Bulldogs with a strong defensive play halfway through the second half. Although Fresno State was 18 points ahead, Williams continued to battle.
Wyoming’s Hunter Maldonado found an opening to the basket after beating Hopkins off the dribble. Williams sensed the defensive breakdown before he rose up and sent Maldonado’s attempted dunk into the hardwood.
Williams’ tireless effort is the kind of play the Bulldogs have shown all year in their victories. With the Aztecs of San Diego State coming to Fresno with revenge on their minds, more of the same will be from Fresno State.
The ‘Dogs will be back in action at the Save Mart Center to face San Diego State on Tuesday.