After a long and very successful preseason, the Fresno State Bulldogs hosted their regular season home opener against the Colorado State University Rams, with hopes of getting their second win in conference play. The Bulldogs secured their second straight conference win, defeating the Rams 78-67 at home, giving them an 11-3 overall record.
The game began with the Bulldogs scoring the first points and taking a lead that they would maintain throughout the first half. The Bulldogs kept their momentum going, thanks to the ‘Dogs’ defense, which limited the Rams’ scoring opportunities.
Colorado State seemed to be caught off guard on many occasions, thanks to the Bulldogs’ fast breaks, which resulted in points for the ‘Dogs.
Halfway through the first half, the Bulldogs kept scoring without an answer from the Rams, who appeared outmatched on both offense and defense. This led to the ‘Dogs’ 20-point lead just before the half.
The Bulldogs would ease up on the Rams just before halftime, decreasing their lead to 14 points. The ‘Dogs would go to the locker room with the score 36-22.
For Fresno State, the halftime leaders were Deshon Taylor, who had 10 points and four assists, and Nate Grimes, who had six rebounds and nine points in the game.
In the second half of the game, the Bulldogs started much like they did the first, but this time the Rams were able to capitalize on errors committed by the defense and outscore the ‘Dogs in the first minutes of the half.
However, the Bulldogs regained control of the game, adding to their lead, thanks to several 3-pointers by New Williams and Sam Bittner. The Bulldogs continued their dominance over the Rams, keeping them with a deficit of more than 12 points throughout the half.
The Bulldogs would keep the pressure on the Rams, which appeared to frustrate them as they committed several personal fouls that turned into points for the ‘Dogs.
In the last two minutes of the game, Colorado State got within 10 points of the Bulldogs, but the ‘Dogs would add to the lead thanks to a 3-point shot by Grimes.
With less than one minute left in the game, the Rams’ offense would try and pressure the Bulldogs’ defense, but with no success. The Bulldogs kept their lead of 11 points and won their first home conference game 78-67.
For the Bulldogs, Taylor finished with 21 points, seven assists, while shooting 9-9 from the free throw line. Bittner finished with 17 points and hit 4-5 3-pointers. Grimes had 17 points in the game and finished with 10 total rebounds.
After the game, coach Justin Hutson said the team had great momentum in the first half of the game, but struggled to maintain that same momentum in the second half. He added that senior leadership helped to win the game.
“We jumped out early in the first half, but we are still trying to put two halves together like that. It’s not an easy thing to do. it takes a whole team effort to do that,” Hutson said. “You can feel their (senior) experience out on the floor. I knew they knew the job at hand. They were going to play strong and confident and as a group.”