Bulldogs stomp William Jessup Warriors in season opener

Fresno State forward Orlando Robinson drives to the basket while being defended by William Jessup University’s forward Matthew Schmidt on November 25, 2020, at the Save Mart Center. (Vendila Yang/ The Collegian)

Fresno State carried the momentum dominantly against William Jessup after finishing the first half with 17 unanswered points and outdid themselves in the second half with a 24-0 run, putting the game out of reach.

The Bulldogs won their Wednesday afternoon season opener at the Save Mart Center against the Warriors, 87-47.

“I liked our effort and how we moved the ball,” Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson said. “I thought we did a good job of moving it. I thought we did a good job of penetrating the ball into the paint.”

Fresno State had 10 players score. Four of them scored in the double figures, as sophomore guard Isaiah Hill and sophomore forward Orlando Robinson had a team-high of 16 points each. Sophomore guard Deon Stroud followed up with 13, and sophomore guard Jordan Campbell had 10.

Early in the first half, the Bulldogs connected well as Hill and Robinson had back-to-back buckets before William Jessup returned and took the lead 6-4.

But that was the first and last time Jessup had the lead. The Bulldogs proceeded to go on a 14-point scoring streak. Stroud had five points in that streak before the Warriors scored to break it.

The Bulldogs and Warriors went back and forth for a while, but Fresno State maintained a 31-17 lead, capping off the first half with 15 unanswered points.  

Fresno State’s defense allowed Jessup’s Jayden DeJoseph to score 15 points, all of which came from three-pointers. He scored two early in the second half, but the Bulldogs followed the quick scores and regained the momentum by going on that 24-0 run.

Following the run, Fresno State amassed a significant lead at 72-25.

Robinson had eight points during that run and recorded a double-double tonight with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He said he looks to fill in the void former Fresno State center Nate Grimes left last season, Robinson described as a double-double machine.

“It’s what I’m looking for every game,” Robinson said. “It’s my goal to be a consistent double-double guy. Having him (Grimes) leave puts a lot of pressure on me, but I love the pressure. It’s something I pride myself in doing.”

The Bulldogs allowed 16 turnovers, something Hutson said he wants his team to clean up, but he’s happy to play after all the team’s adversity. The team missed 28 days of practice due to quarantine.

“I’m glad we played hard and thought we played together,” Hutson said. “I thought we responded well to this first game. We were happy to be able to play, no matter how it comes. We can’t complain about anything.”

The turnaround will be quick as the Bulldogs will travel to Stockton to play the Pacific Tigers on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m.

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