Fresno State senior guard Cezar Guerrero battles with Master’s College guard Reid Shackelford during Thursday’s nonconference matchup at Save Mart Center. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State men’s basketball team pulled one out late, defeating the Master’s College Mustangs 84-72 at home.
The Mustangs got off to a quick 5-0 lead before junior forward Paul Watson put the ‘Dogs on the board and after a few buckets from senior Marvelle Harris, the ‘Dogs led the Mustangs 15-9.
Master’s College battled back however and even clinched a four-point lead with about nine minutes remaining in the half.
“Give [Master’s College] a lot of credit in terms of the way they came in and played,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. “They played about the way we thought they would play. In terms of our preparation, we knew that they would come in and shoot the basketball at any time in a possession. We had to make sure and didn’t have our hands down. So that really surprised me in the way they played.
“They were real scrappy, they really out scrapped us in the first half and that’s hard for me to say because, again, that’s something that we like to hang our hat on and take pride in – that we’re the scrappy team, we’re the team that out competes the other team. But this game is a great lesson for our guys.”
The Bulldogs tied things up at 24-24 with four minutes left in the half. Of the ‘Dogs 34 points, in the first half, 20 came inside the paint with 12 coming from second chances.
At the half the score was even between the ‘Dogs and the Mustangs at 34-34.
The ‘Dogs came out hot in the second half with a 6-0 run but the Mustangs hung close as junior guard Reid Shackelford hit some 3-point shots, not letting the ‘Dogs gain a huge lead early in the second half.
Fresno State build 58-52 lead at the 11:30 mark with a few stop and a few buckets from forward Torren Jones.
But Shackelford remained hot and kept draining 3-point baskets to keep the Mustangs close. Shackelford was the leading scorer of the game with 35 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field, including 11-of-19 from 3-point range.
“[Shackelford] played well tonight and I thought their team played really hard,” Terry said. “I give them a lot of credit. He made a lot of tough shots. I thought that we did not have the intensity and the attention to detail tonight on that [defensive] end of the floor. There were times where we were suppose to be in a couple defenses but we weren’t and for whatever reason, we didn’t do what we needed to do.”
The ‘Dogs pulled away from the Mustangs and build a nine-point, 72-63 lead with five minutes left in the game.
Late in the game with defense and free throws, the Bulldogs would finally put the Mustangs away for good.
For the game, the ‘Dogs shot 47 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
The ‘Dogs had four different players in double figures for the night with Harris leading the ‘Dogs with 21 points.
“You have to come out ready to play every game, no matter who you’re playing,” Harris said. “It’s more about us than the opponent so we have to come out, be ready to play and not take any wins for granted.”