Fresno State senior guard Cezar Guerrero pulls up for a 3-point shot during Thursday’s 78-71 win over San Francisco at Save Mart Center. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
The Fresno State men’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2006, defeating the Rice Owls 82-65 Sunday in Houston.
The ‘Dogs hit the road for the first time this season looking to jump on a struggling Rice team that had lost its first three games by an average of 22 points.
Slow starts have been a common issue in just about every one of their games this season and Sunday was no different.
With turnovers on their first two possessions, the Bulldogs did not attempt their first field goal until just over two minutes into the game. Their first basket finally came just past the 17:30 mark after they had trailed by five early.
The ‘Dogs and Owls battled back and forth in the first half with neither team taking a lead of more than six for the majority of the half. Thanks to 48 percent shooting and the defense forcing nine turnovers in the half, the Bulldogs found themselves up by seven at the end of the half.
Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year Marvelle Harris led the ‘Dogs with 15 points in the first half on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-for-3 behind the 3-point arc.
Harris and the ‘Dogs came out firing in the second half, scoring a quick five points to increase their lead to double-digits for the first time, which forced Rice to take an early timeout.
The hot start to the half continued following the timeout as the ‘Dogs ended up shooting 65 percent from the field in the second half, including 83 percent from the 3-point line. The Bulldog defense forced another five turnovers and held the Owls to 38 percent shooting for the period, outscoring them by 10 to finish with the 17-point win.
Leading the way for the ‘Dogs was Harris with 26 points and six assists. Harris was one of four Bulldogs to post double-digit point totals in the game. Senior guard Cezar Guerrero and junior forward Paul Watson each added 15 points on a combined 10-of-17 shooting from the field.
Junior forward Karachi Edo posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, his first on the season. Edo boosted his averages to eight points per game and just under nine rebounds through the first four games this season.
The Bulldogs start this season is their best since the 2006 season when the team started out 7-0.