Fresno State students look on as the men’s basketball team practices Thursday afternoon at the North Gym. (Paul Schlesinger/The Collegian)
A loss in last weekend’s triple-overtime match against then-No. 25 Wyoming certainly stung. But the Fresno State men’s basketball team aims to bounce back with a win Saturday, when it squares off against Mountain West rival Nevada (6-11, 2-3 MW).
The defeat dropped Fresno State (9-10, 4-2 MW) from a tie for first place to a tie for the third spot in the conference standings. Head coach Rodney Terry will have had a whole week to prepare for the physicality the team will see Saturday from the Pack.
“They’re a physical team that likes playing in transition,” Terry said. “We’re going to have to do to a good job of getting back to try to take easy baskets away. We also have to do a good job of blocking out their post guys and matching their physicality.”
The last time these teams met was on Jan. 10, when the Bulldogs edged the Wolf Pack 69-66. In that meeting, Fresno State guard and leading scorer Marvelle Harris took off for a career-high 40 points.
Harris has averaged 18.1 points per game on the season, and Terry looks for his third-year player to continue to shoot the basketball effectively.
“Marvelle has been very consistent night in and night out,” Terry said. “He’s been a guy that brings great effort and preparation to the table every night and we don’t look for him to take any steps back in that regard.”
The Wolf Pack, who is on a three-game losing skid, is led by forward A.J. West, who averages 12.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. The Wolf Pack rank ninth in the country in rebounding, coming away with an average of 40.8 per game.
“[West] is a guy that causes a lot of problems when you bring the ball in toward the basket,” Terry said. “So he impacts the game on a number of different levels, and he’s a really physical player and plays extremely hard.”
Terry expects to receive an “extremely physical” effort and one of Nevada’s better games of the year when it comes into the Save Mart Center.
Tipoff for Saturday’s game is set for 4 p.m. All fans are asked to wear navy in support of the Fresno State men’s basketball team’s “Night in Navy” promotion.
Also, cash giveaways will be presented, as $100 bills will be given away to fans throughout the game, and one lucky Fresno State student will win an Apple TV.
Support growing for men’s basketball team
In an attempt to increase interaction between the community and the men’s basketball team, Fresno State Athletics invited students to practice Thursday afternoon at the North Gym to show appreciation for the
Fourth-year head coach Rodney Terry is pleased with the Red Wave backing his team as of late.
“The student support is very important to us,” Terry said. “They create the atmosphere and the energy that they bring to the building translates to the court.”
The crowd of 8,000-plus proved to be a difference in the Bulldogs’ near triple-overtime upset over then-No. 25 Wyoming last weekend at the Save Mart Center.
The third-place Bulldogs look to garner similar support when they host their second consecutive game this weekend.
“We want a big crowd at the Save Mart Center for the rest of the season,” Harris said. “But we have to give them a reason to keep coming back.”