Redshirt sophomore Jerry Brown III (right), drives
to the basket against Cal State San Marcos’ Aaron
Chamberlain Jr., Wednesday night.
James Ramirez / The Collegian
After going into halftime tied at 26, Fresno State outscored nonconference opponent Cal State San Marcos 40 to 29 to cap a 66-55 victory Wednesday night.
“We had a good contest tonight. We were playing an older, more experienced team,” Bulldogs coach Rodney Terry said. “We knew their guys were going to come in here and compete, and our team knew that we were going to have to be ready to match them in terms of their energy level.”
The second-half rout was led by sophomore forward Jerry Brown, who scored 11 of his career-high 17 points.
“Jerry has really competed and bought into his role with our team. As we’ve gone along, his role has expanded,“ Terry said. “He’s scoring more for us offensively. He’s the guy that gives a defensive presence down there. He’s the guy that takes the charges. He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to the full force.”
The Bulldogs’ leading scorer, sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe, is averaging 18.4 points this season and added 14 points against San Marcos. Senior guard Jonathan Wills contributed 12 and Tyler Johnson scored 10, giving the Bulldogs four players with double-digit scoring.
Daniel Redmon led the Cougars with 13 points. Jacob Ranger scored 12. Former Bulldog Tim Steed contributed 10 for San Marcos.
The Bulldogs forced the Cougars to turn the ball over 18 times, while the Fresno State only committed 12. The game was the 16th time in 20 games that the Bulldogs turned the ball over less than their opponent.
The Bulldogs also outrebounded the Cougars 33 to 25, helping them improve to 4-0 when they outrebound opponents.
Brown and junior forward Kevin Foster led the second-half surge by combining for 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulldogs extended the lead to 18 with 5:44 remaining in the game.
“In the second half, we came out hard. I think our guys did a much better job in terms of attention to detail. We had a better game offensively. Defensively, we got after it a little better. I was pleased with our sharing the basketball. We had four guys with double figures,” Terry said.
The Bulldogs improved to 9-11 and will play the Nevada Wolf Pack, the preseason favorite to win the Western Athletic Conference.
“We feel confident. We’ve been playing hard all year long. We know that we’re up against Nevada next, who is supposed to be favored for our league,” Brown said. “We’re going to go up there and try to get a win. We’re going to work hard and do everything that coach tells us to do and if we do that I think we’ll get a win.”
With Wednesday’s win the ‘Dogs will try to carry the momentum in to a three-game WAC roadtrip starting Saturday in Reno, Nev.
“We feel we need to win every game. Our next game is Nevada, and we take it one game at a time” Wills said, “Obviously you need to win the road to win the conference, but we are confident that if we play our game the way we know how we are going to win night in and night out.”
The Bulldogs will return to Fresno Feb. 2 for a conference showdown against Idaho.