FRESNO, Calif. - The fun and gun up-tempo brand of basketball took flight on Monday night at the Save Mart Center and propelled Fresno State to a 72-59 wire-to-wire non-conference victory over the Mountain West's Boise State for the 'Dogs third straight win.
Senior point guard Steven Shepp led four Bulldogs in double figures by scoring a career-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and dished out seven assists with no turnovers to ignite the Bulldogs' aggressive offensive effort.
The Bulldogs relentless energy was evident from the first tip and quickly dictated the flow of a game that also featured junior Kevin Foster's first career double-double (11 points/11 rebounds) and the team's best free throw shooting clip of the season (16-for-18, 88.9 percent).
"I'm really pleased with our effort," head coach Rodney Terry said. "We have played some really good teams and learned a lot of lessons in non-conference play. Boise State is an explosive team that can really shoot and score. They are a team that will compete well in the Mountain West this year. We are a better team because of playing this type of schedule."
Kenny Buckner led the Broncos (10-5) with 13 points off the bench.
Fresno State used a 17-6 run to start the second half that extended a 31-26 halftime lead and were up by as many as 19. Shepp and Johnson capped the surge with consecutive 3-pointers.
"We took it as a challenge," sophomore Jerry Brown noted of getting a second chance to play the Broncos, who had beat the 'Dogs 70-63 on Dec. 19 in Boise. "We came together and got the job done."
Terry and the Bulldogs can now turn their focus to their Western Athletic Conference opener at defending regular season and tournament champion Utah State on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be showcased on the WAC Sports Network.
"Our goals will never change and that is to compete for a conference championship," Terry said. "We have a great challenge to play on the road at the defending champs right off the bat, but we are going to tackle it head on. Stew (Utah State Head Coach Stew Morrill) has done a great job with his program and we look forward to getting on the floor. The WAC is going to be very competitive from top to bottom all year."
Fresno State (7-8) will be going for its first win in Logan over Utah State (8-6) since 2007, when the Bulldogs surged past the Aggies for a 71-66 triumph.
"We Are Your Team!" - The Bulldogs begin Western Athletic Conference play at Utah State on Thursday night at 6 p.m. PT and also visit Idaho on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. PT. Both games will be broadcast on the WAC Sports Network, which is available on KAIL 53 (Comcast Cable Channel 13) in the San Joaquin Valley. You can also listen to the games on KMJ 580 AM. Be sure to follow @RodneyTerry on Twitter for updates from the road.
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