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FRESNO STATE USES BIG RUN TO OPEN SECOND HALF AND EVENTUALLY DEFEAT MEN'S BASKETBALL
FRESNO, Calif. -- Leading just, 37-31, at halftime, Fresno State used a 13-0 run to open the second half and went on to defeat Sacramento State, 77-65, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Friday evening at the Save Mart Center.
Sacramento State missed its first 11 field goal attempts of the second half while Fresno State was making its run. The 13-0 run extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 50-31 with 13:49 to play as Sacramento State did not score during the first 6:38 of the half. Fresno State eventually pushed its lead to as large as 26 points before Sacramento State outscored the Bulldogs, 20-6, over the final 4:10 to provide the 13-point margin of defeat.
The game marked the season opener for both teams, and the home opener for Fresno State. The Bulldogs have now defeated the Hornets on 23 consecutive occasions dating back to 1966, and improved to 40-10 in the all-time series between the two teams. The teams have played just five times since the Hornets joined the Div. I ranks in 1991-92. Fresno State has now won five straight season openers, and 12 of its past 13 opening games.
It was the tale of two halves tonight as Sacramento State shot 44.1 percent (15-34) from the field in the first stanza while committing just three turnovers. However, in the second half, the Hornets shot just 31.3 percent (10-32) from the field while committing 10 turnovers. In addition, Fresno State shot a blistering 59.3 percent (16-27) from the field in the second stanza.
“I thought we played the first half with a lot of energy,” Sacramento State first-year head coach Brian Katz said. “During that first half, our bigs were able to score down low and we took away Fresno State’s ability to drive to the basket.
“However, at the beginning of the second half, our guys got frustrated with our inability to score and it translated to the defensive end. We can’t afford for that to happen. I was happy we made a run towards the end of the game, and I thought our guys showed a lot of character and fight.”
Four Fresno State players scored in double figures, comprised of Sylvester Seay (17), Paul George (14), Mychal Ladd (10) and Dwight O’Neil (10). The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 54.7 percent (29-53) from the field, 42.1 percent (8-19) from the three-point line, and outrebounded the Hornets, 37-32.
Sacramento State was led by senior Loren Leath’s 21 points as the senior finished the game shooting 8-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-7 from the three-point line. Fourteen of Leath’s 21 points were scored during the final 4:10, as he scored 14 of Sacramento State’s final 20 points of the game. In his first Div. I game, junior center Mike Edwards finished with 10 points (5-of-9 shooting) and four rebounds, while junior center Justin Eller added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds. Eller scored the first four points of the game for Sacramento State, and four of his eight rebounds came on the offensive end.
Hornet junior Jared Stigall added eight points (including a pair of three-pointers) and senior Randy Adams finished with six points and four rebounds. Starting point guard Mike Marcial finished with six of the team’s 12 assists while committing just one turnover. Marcial and Eller each finished with a team-best 33 minutes.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting 37.9 percent (25-66) from the field, 47.1 percent (8-17) from the three-point line and 58.3 percent (7-12) from the free throw line. Four of Adams’ six points came from the free throw line where the center finished 4-of-6. The Hornets drew four charges during the game and scored 20 points off 19 Fresno State turnovers. Twenty-eight of the team’s 65 points came inside the paint.
Sacramento State was playing without five players tonight, comprised of guard Stephen Calton (tibia), and forwards Aaron Wilson (disciplinary), Michael Selling (foot), Aj Kapanoske (foot) and Alex Ward (personal).
Tonight was the first of a four-game road trip to begin the season for the Hornets as the team will also travel to UC Riverside next Tuesday, Nov. 18, followed by stops at Washington State (Nov. 21) and Cal State Bakersfield (Nov. 25). Sacramento State opens up at home on Monday, Dec. 1, against Idaho.
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