Fresno State guard Julien Lewis dribbles past Boise State’s Derrick Marks in Saturday’s conference game at the Save Mart Center. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State men’s basketball team came back late in the second period Saturday to hand Boise State a 70-64 loss, snapping the Broncos’ eight-game win streak on a night when the Bulldogs honored the passing of former player and legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian.
Head coach Rodney Terry credited the second-half defense for its efforts, as it held the Broncos to 22 points compared with the 42 the Bulldogs allowed in the opening half.
“Coach Tarkanian’s teams always played extremely hard, especially on the defensive end,” head coach Rodney Terry said. “That’s something that we’ve been trying to buy into as a team since we got back from Christmas break. Tonight, I felt like our guys played and guarded extremely hard on defense.
“We knew what to expect tonight with one of the hottest teams in our league coming in. We did a decent job in the first half, but we did a much better job in the second half.”
The Bulldogs (12-13, 7-5 Mountain West) worked their way to a 12-point lead but saw it erased down the stretch of the first half by the Broncos. Star point guard Derrick Marks helped the Broncos (18-6, 8-3 MW) storm back to take a 42-40 halftime lead.
Coming out of the break, the Broncos scored six straight to extend their lead to 48-40. They led the Bulldogs all the way up until about the two-minute mark, when Alex Davis sunk a pair of free throws to tie the ballgame up at 61.
“He did a great job on the defensive end down there when we started double teaming Marks,” Terry said of his only senior. “He did a good job of taking the ball out of Marks’ hands and forcing someone else to make a play. He also came up with a huge offensive rebound at the right time there at the end and showed a lot of senior leadership in tonight’s game.”
Davis recorded nine points and five rebounds in Saturday’s win.
Marvelle Harris then helped Fresno State take the lead on the Bulldogs’ ensuing possession by driving up the lane and scoring on a layup with 1:33 remaining in the game. Harris’ effort gave the ‘Dogs a 63-61 lead and helped spark a 7-3 run to close out the game.
Harris, who continues to be one of the top scorers in the conference, led the way for Fresno State with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting including 5-of-8 from 3-point land.
“I spend a lot of time in the gym working on my shot, and I just try to shoot with confidence,” Harris said. “And the support from the players and coaches helps keep me confident.”
Julien Lewis was second on the team, recording 15 points, four rebounds and a steal for the Bulldogs.
Marks scored a game-high 31 points for the Broncos.
Fresno State takes on Colorado State (21-5, 8-5 MW) today at the Save Mart Center for a 7 p.m. conference matchup.