Bulldogs lose third consecutive game against Rebels

Fresno State guard, Isaiah Hill, dribbles the ball across the court in their game against UNLV Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)

Fresno State men’s basketball held a close back-and-forth match against UNLV that ultimately ended with a 60-57 loss on Feb. 16 at the Save Mart Center. 

This is the third straight loss for the Bulldogs with close point deficits against their opponents. 

Isaiah Hill led the way in scoring with 14 points alongside Junior Ballard, who also shot 14 points. Hill also led with four assists and four  rebounds.

UNLV had a lot of fast breaks in this game, but  Hill and Ballard stepped up leading the score through the second half of the game. 

Fresno State guard, Junior Ballard, attempts a shot in its game against UNLV Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)

“We got a double teamed in Orlando and he kicked out Junior for one real nice break. And then we made a play call for him and he came up and hit a nice break,” Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson said. 

Hutson praised Hill’s recent shooting and said he expected to see that it continue to be as well as it has been.

“Isaiah has been shooting the ball well as of late, you know. So we’re expecting that,” he said. 

Hill highlighted how in basketball, sometimes the ball doesn’t go in, and said the fans saw that. 

“We just got to get back into the lab and just keep making shots in practice. We just gotta stay true to our morals. That’s what we did tonight, we fought but it didn’t go our way,” Hill said. 

Hutson touched on how many runs UNLV was able to get in this game. Despite the Bulldogs shooting 21 points from turnovers by UNLV, the Rebels led their 18 points from fast breaks compared to the ‘Dogs’ 9 points. 

“It was a hard fought game, you know, and physically hard fought. You know, we made a run. They made a run. We made a run, they made a run and they made one too many,” Coach said.

The ‘Dogs carried the lead in the majority of the first half. The Rebels took the lead for a short moment with 14:40 on the clock, but Hill answered quickly with a layup, tying up the score once again 8-8. 

As the first half went on, the point deficit between Fresno State and UNLV grew until the last five minutes on the clock, when the Rebels stepped up against the Bulldogs. UNLV’s Royce Hamm Jr. shot a 3-pointer, closing up the score 25-21. 

The referees in the game then called two fouls on Fresno State, allowing UNLV to shoot two more points. With three minutes left in the first half, UNLV’s Donovan Williams shot a floating jump shot, tying the game 25-25.

From then on it was a back-and-forth match between the two teams until the halftime score of 31-33. In the first half alone there were five lead changes and three times the score was tied. 

Coming into the second half, both teams answered each other; when Hill shot a 3-pointer with 15:59 on the clock tying up the score and then Robert Vaihola’s layup taking the 42-40 lead, UNLV responded with a 3-point shot, taking the lead again.

This was seen during most of the second half as well, during which the score was tied five times and there were nine lead changes between the teams. 

With 14 seconds left on the clock, the ‘Dogs were down by 4 points after UNLV shot two free throws. After a foul on Anthony Holland, UNLV was given two more free throws, bringing up the score 54-60. 

Many Bulldogs fans left the game before the final buzzer once UNLV was given two more free throws.

Ballard was given three free throws after a personal foul called on UNLV with one second left on the clock, which then brought the final score of 60-57.

​​Fresno State guard, Junior Ballard, prepares to pass the ball to one of his teammates in its game against UNLV Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)

Hutson noted that there were a lot of missed shots in this UNLV game, and it was going to be one of the things they work on before taking on San Diego State on Saturday. 

“I will show some good stuff on defense. And sometimes we give up some crucial opposite rebounds. And we’ll move on, and we’ll say this in basketball, we have to be better. We’ll move on to a tough opponent on Saturday,” Hutson said. “Still got a lot of basketball, played us and them. But we were definitely going to have to win games in the tournament to go where we want to go.”

The Bulldogs are 6-6 in their MW conference season, and 16-9 overall, riding on a three-game losing streak. They host San Diego State (16-6 overall, 8-3 MW) for their conference game Feb. 19,  at the Save Mart Center with tipoff set for 7 p.m. 

Fresno State guard, Donavan Yap, dribbles the ball in its game against UNLV Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)

Fresno State guard, Jordan Campbell, dribbles the ball in its game against UNLV Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)

The final score of the Fresno State men’s basketball game in which the ‘Dogs lost by three points to UNLV on Feb. 16, 2022 in the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/ The Collegian)
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