Apr 19, 2019
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Fresno State men's basketball team players Sam Bittner and Christian Gray have a laugh during a home-game win against Colorado State 78-67, at the Save Mart Center on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019.

Bulldogs basketball on a roll during break

The buzz around the Fresno State men’s basketball team has grown exponentially over the past month as a once dim, barren Save Mart Center became jammed pack with 9,586 in attendance for the last home game against No. 10 Nevada.

With a win against Boise State on Saturday 63-53, the Bulldogs moved to 13-4 on the season and 4-1 in conference, good enough to currently sit second in the Mountain West.

The ‘Dogs’ four wins in their last five games have come against San Jose State, Utah State, Boise State and Colorado State, with their lone loss coming against Nevada. In that game, the Bulldogs played tough throughout, but let the game slip away in the second half.

Bulldog basketball has been on a roll, due in large part to the play of seniors Deshon Taylor, Braxton Huggins and Sam Bittner.

While the Bulldogs are averaging 73.2 points per game over a five game span, many of their wins have been mostly a team effort with ball movement being the key, but they are highlighted by the play of scoring duo of Taylor and Huggins.

Taylor has averaged 14 ppg since returning on Jan. 2 against San Jose State from an elbow injury that kept him out for three games, while averaging 16.6 on the season.

During Taylor’s absence, Huggins filled the role of scorer for the ‘Dogs. His ability to create scoring opportunities and consistently drain shots has led to him leading the team with a season-high 18.4 ppg and a 43.8 field goal percentage.

With a team full of offensive weapons like Taylor, Huggins and the emerging play of junior New Williams who are able to score at a moments notice, the unsung workhorse of the season has been Sam Bittner.

The description of Bittner’s play this season can only described by onlookers as gritty, nasty and passionate. Each game has been highlighted with plays that exemplify Bittner’s unselfishness.

Bittner’s contribution to this team does not show up on the stat sheets because his game consists of being a defensive maven, making diving attempts for loose balls and taking the brunt of punishment while taking charges.

This year’s team has exceeded expectations so far, and with the Mountain West tournament seven weeks away, this team could easily win the majority of their remaining schedule.

Currently sitting in second place, it does not seem too far-fetched that this Bulldogs team could end the regular season with 25 wins under their belt and have the No. 2 seed locked up going into the Mountain West Tournament in March.

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