Home Sweet Home Opener

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    By Andy Conli / Fresno State Athletics

    The Fresno State men's basketball team is looking forward to playing in the friendly confines of the Save Mart Center this Wednesday night against the NAIA's Vanguard Lions. The home opener is exactly what the Bulldogs need after last Friday's 83-56 season opening loss to BYU in front of 22,700 raucous Cougar fans all dressed in white.  

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Steve ClevelandFresno State has been dominant in home openers, especially in recent years. The Bulldogs are 65-19 in the history of the program and an impressive 5-0 in head coach Steve Cleveland's era. The average margin of victory has been 12.8 points in those five games. The Dogs have not lost the first game of the season on their home court since 1999 when they came up short to Pepperdine, 70-68.

      Home Opener Results: Cleveland Era






    Oregon State

    W 80-73


    Winston-Salem State

    W 85-63



    W 75-68


    Sacramento State

    W 77-65


    San Francisco State

    W 65-59

    Last season the Bulldogs opened up at home against San Francisco State and held off the Gators for a 65-59 win. Center Greg Smith made his presence known in his collegiate debut by recording a double-double. Smith scored 17 points on six for six from the field, grabbed 10 rebounds, four of which were offensive boards, and blocked five shots.  

    Six new faces saw playing time for the Bulldogs in their season opener at No. 24 BYU: junior guard Jonathan Wills, junior guard Tim Steed, junior guard Bennie Rhodes, freshman guard Tyler Johnson, freshman guard Kevin Olekaibe and freshman forward Bracken Funk. Senior forward Ned Golubovic led the team in points (12), three-point field-goals (two) and rebounds (eight).  

    This will be the first time Fresno State and Vanguard have faced each other. The Lions are 1-1 on the season with a 73-69 victory over Montana State Northern and an 85-49 loss to Westminster of Utah. Senior forward Alex Chapman, a transfer from the University of Nebraska, is the Lion's leading scorer and rebounder averaging 18 points and seven boards per game.

    Former Bulldog Taylor Kelly, a sophomore guard from Bakersfield, Calif., is making his first appearance in Fresno since transferring to Vanguard this past year.

    "Taylor has a great work ethic, attitude and is an outstanding student in the classroom," Coach Cleveland said of Kelly. "I enjoyed coaching him every day and know he will be successful on and off the floor."

    The game will be played this Wednesday, Nov. 17 in the Save Mart Center. It is the second leg of a double-header tipped off by the women's basketball team taking on Cal Poly. The slated start time is 8 p.m. but is subject to change depending on when the women finish.

    Fans who bring a canned food item for the Bulldog Pantry before the end of the first half of the women's game will receive free admission to the doubleheader. After halftime of the women's game, a canned food item will get fans half off their ticket for the remainder of the night.

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