January 1, 2014
By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
FRESNO, Calif. --- Fresno State sophomore guard Marvelle Harris scored a game-best 25 points, but the Bulldogs' men's basketball team couldn't overcome a strong second-half surge by the UNLV Runnin' Rebels as Fresno State dropped its conference opener 75-62 to UNLV on New Year's Day at the Save Mart Center.
"We knew coming out of the trenches that defense was going to be a big, big part of this ball game," Fresno State third-year head coach Rodney Terry said. "We had opportunities to score the basketball and it didn't fall our way tonight. We have to shoot it better if we want to have an opportunity to win."
After a solid first-half effort that led to a 34-31 for the Rebels at halftime, Fresno State found itself locked in dogfight with UNLV midway through the second half.
Harris pulled the 'Dogs within one point at 46-45 with 10:45 to play before the Runnin' Rebels used a dunk by UConn transfer Roscoe Smith to spark a 10-0 run.
UNLV (10-4, 1-0 Mountain West) never let Fresno State (7-7, 0-1 MW) get closer than five the rest of the way. With the win, the Rebels extended their winning streak to seven straight.
Harris, who had 19 of his 25 points after halftime to post his fourth career game with at least 25 points, also grabbed seven rebounds. The Bulldogs' redshirt sophomore point guard Cezar Guerrero added 16 points and freshman forward Karachi Edo reeled in nine rebounds - eight in the first half alone.
"Karachi did a really good job on the offensive glass, had some easy opportunities around the basket, and had some good activity," Terry said of Edo's aggressive effort.
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored a career-high 24 points for UNLV and Khem Birch, a transfer from Pittsburgh, tallied 14 points with 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Smith added 13 points and 12 boards for his nation-leading 10th double-double.
Fresno State returns to action on Saturday at Boise State (10-3, 0-0 MW), which will be broadcast on ESPN3 and 940 AM ESPN Radio.
"Catch the Wave!" - 2013-14 Fresno State men's basketball tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at www.gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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