Fresno State senior guard Marvelle Harris (23) drives to the basket against Colorado State during Senior Night on Wednesday, March 2. In Saturday’s game against Utah State, Harris scored a game-high 34 points to become Fresno State’s all-time leading scorer. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
The Bulldogs came back from an 18-point deficit to down the Utah State Aggies 86-85 in thrilling fashion to close out the regular season at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Saturday night in Logan, Utah.
Fresno State senior guard Marvelle Harris showed up once again for the ‘Dogs when it mattered while also breaking a record that had stood for over a decade. Harris poured in a game-high 34 points to become Fresno State’s career scoring leader, passing Melvin Ely’s previous record. So Harris now stands atop the list at 1,954 career points.
“Right now, it means a lot,” Harris said. “But to me, the win means more. It’s always an honor to be recognized for things that you’ve done, but I feel like that’s something you look back on when you’re older and things like that. I’m not going to be happy with it. I’m not going to feel content or say that I’ve done this. I’m going to keep fighting, keep playing basketball, keep trying to help my teammates and just do what we have to do to win.”
Despite Harris’ monster game, the Bulldogs’ defense was far from consistent in the first half. The Aggies converted on 13 of their last 25 baskets with six bombs from beyond the 3-point line, which gave them a comfortable 18-point lead with 3:26 left to go in the opening half.
The ‘Dogs were able to go on a 10-3 run of their own in the closing minutes of the first half with back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore guard Jahmel Taylor to pull within 11 points with the score 42-31 to close out the half.
The Dogs’ just wanted to stay confident and continue to play the game no matter what the score was.
“We tried not to look at the scoreboard. When you look at the scoreboard and you start to realize, ‘Oh, man, we’re down 18 – we have a long way to go,’” Harris said. “We just took it possession by possession. We tried to get stops. We tried to get a shot up every possession. Before you knew it, we were within 11 at halftime, and we came out with the same defensive mindset and before you knew it, it was a tie game.”
The ‘Dogs’ began to claw their way back into the game in the second half, eventually taking a 71-68 lead with a big 3-pointer from senior guard Julien Lewis with 5:51 remaining.
As the minutes dwindled and the lead constantly going back and forth, Harris drained two free throws with seconds left in the game that gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead.
The Bulldogs not only outplayed the Aggies but outscored them 55-43 in the second half completing their largest comeback in head coach Rodney Terry’s five seasons at Fresno State.
“This is a really gutty win by our team coming back and fighting through adversity,” Terry said. “We just kept working the game. I give my team a lot of credit. These guys they kept battling. They kept fighting, and they stayed together. They regrouped. They hit the reset button, and they did a great job of coming out and working as hard as they can work it.”
Other Bulldogs in double figures include Lewis and junior forwards Karachi Edo and Cullen Russo, who each scored 12 points.
Fresno State travels to Las Vegas next for the Mountain West Tournament. The ‘Dogs take on seventh-seeded UNLV or No. 10 Air Force in the conference tournament quarterfinal at 6 p.m. Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center.