Fresno State guard Julien Lewis (14) chases after a loose ball during the Bulldogs’ Feb. 18 game against Colorado State. (Paul Schlesinger/The Collegian)
The Fresno State men’s basketball team had a daunting task ahead of it and it stepped up to the occasion Wednesday night in Wyoming by pulling off a 64-59 upset over the Cowboys, who had been 16-1 on their home court this season.
Just inside three minutes, the Bulldogs grabbed a one-point lead behind a Marvelle Harris 3-pointer. Fresno State maintained the lead and extended it to as much as five, but things got tense down the stretch.
Josh Adams, Wyoming’s leading scorer on the night with 22 points, hit a 3 to cut the lead to two with about a minute to go.
The ‘Dogs would answer back as forward Alex Davis, the Bulldogs’ only senior, tipped in a missed Harris layup to push his team’s lead to 61-57 with 18 seconds to go in the ballgame.
“When you believe in what we’re doing, great things will happen, and tonight our guys believed,” head coach Rodney Terry said. “Our group has fought through adversity and never stopped working.”
Harris continues to shine for the Bulldogs, posting 23 points, five rebounds and three steals, and fellow junior guard Julien Lewis registered 13 points.
“[The win] means a lot to our program and our community,” Harris said. “It’s been a while since we came in here and got a victory, so this one was big for us moving forward … I just tried to take over and lead my team to a victory. We had a lot of teammates step up and make great shots and set screens. Overall everything went great.”
Wednesday’s victory avenges the mid-January 70-65 triple-overtime loss the Bulldogs suffered to the Cowboys (21-7, 10-5 MW) at the Save Mart Center.
The 2015 Mountain West Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament takes place March 11-14 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Fresno State can clinch a first-round bye if it finishes the regular season in the top six in the conference standings.
Harris told CBS that he feels the win gives the ‘Dogs (13-15, 8-7 MW) a boost heading down the stretch before they enter the tournament.
“[Wyoming] is a great team, and we knew we were going to have to come in and play hard for a full 40 minutes in order to beat them” he said. “We feel like the win gives us a lot of momentum going into the tournament.”
The final three-game slate gets going when the Bulldogs take on New Mexico (14-14, 6-10 MW) this Saturday at 7 p.m. as part of a “blackout” promotion, in which fans are asked to sport their black Bulldog gear.