Fresno State guard Emmanuel Owootoah (0) tracks down the ball during the ‘Dogs’ 66-62 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack Saturday at the Save Mart Center. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Behind another excited crowd and in its new navy-colored uniforms, Fresno State (10-10, 5-2 Mountain West) took down Nevada 66-62 for the second time this month to complete the season sweep.
“We had a great crowd here again tonight,” head coach Rodney Terry said. “It gave us tremendous energy for our guys to continue to battle and continue to work.”
Third-year guard Marvelle Harris sunk arguably the game’s most important shot late, when he connected on a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a four-point lead with just under a minute remaining.
“I was just trying to make sure that we had a good possession,” Harris said. “I just wanted us to get a shot up and not turn the ball over. It felt good when I let the shot go, and when I let it go, I knew it was going in.”
The Pack had opportunities toward the end of the game, but junior guard Marqueze Coleman failed to convert on back-to-back layups, which could have cut Fresno State’s lead to two with 27 seconds remaining.
Harris finished the night with 15 points and seven rebounds.
After leading most of the initial period, Fresno State allowed a 3-point shot by Tyron Criswell, which tied things up at 27. Moments later, the Wolf Pack (6-12, 2-4 MW) grabbed its first lead of the game with a pair of free throws from Criswell.
The Bulldogs answered with consecutive free throws by Harris to send the game into halftime with 29 apiece.
The late surge in the first half gave the Pack some momentum coming out of the locker room. Big man A.J. West scored the first points with a lay-up, and from then, there were either ties or Nevada led.
Fresno State didn’t get its first lead of the period until there was just under nine minutes left on the clock with the help of a another critical behind-the-arc shot from Harris.
For the third-consecutive game, Paul Watson led the team in scoring with 18 and came one rebound shy of a double-double. Watson also recorded a career-high five blocks.
“I just went out there and played hard,” Watson said. “Before the game, I knew it was going to be a battle, and coach talked a lot about it before the game. We knew it was going to be a brawl, especially in the boards. We just had to go in there, rebound and finish our possessions.”
Nevada guards Criswell and Eric Cooper Jr. put up 19 and 20, respectively. West, the season-leading scorer and rebounder for the Wolf Pack, recorded a double-double with his 12 points and 15 rebounds.
“We knew coming in that this was a really physical team,” Terry said. “They were really going to challenge our guys on the glass. They’re a good offensive rebounding team. They came in, they were aggressive and they attacked.”
The Bulldogs take on San Diego State (15-5, 5-2 MW) Tuesday on the road. Tipoff from Viejas Arena is set for 6:15 p.m.