By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
BOISE, Idaho --- The Fresno State men's basketball team largely diffused a sizzling Boise State squad in the second half and the Bulldogs nearly overcame a 24-point deficit while losing 86-79 to the Broncos on Saturday night at Taco Bell Arena.
While Fresno State (7-8, 0-2 Mountain West) struggled to do much with Boise State (11-3, 1-0 MW) in the first half, the 'Dogs refused to go away without a fight.
The Broncos, who last year earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and returned all five starters from that team, made nine of their 10 3-pointers in the first half and outrebounded the Bulldogs 42-26. But Fresno State countered with 13 3-pointers of its own - seven coming in the second half.
Early in the contest, Fresno State redshirt sophomore Cezar Guerrero hit a pair of three 3-pointers and the 'Dogs led 13-12 before the Broncos caught fire.
Boise State scored 20 straight points for a 32-13 lead with 8:35 left in the first half - a lead the Broncos extended to 24 twice and eventually owned a 46-25 halftime advantage.
BSU's Ryan Watkins scored 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds - one shy of tying his career-high on the boards. Anthony Drmic paced the Broncos with 19 points while going 8-for-8 at the free throw line.
Even when facing the daunting challenge of a 24-point deficit, the Bulldogs kept battling and eventually found themselves back within six when sophomore Marvelle Harris hit a 3-pointer in the final minute. The Broncos survived for their eleventh win of the season at the free throw line.
Fresno State's guard play accounted for 72 of the Bulldogs' 79 points. Senior guard Tyler Johnson scored a game-best 22 points and reeled in eight rebounds to lead 'Dogs offensively and defensively. Harris posted 19 points and six rebounds, Guerrero finished with 16 points and senior Allen Huddleston added 13 points to round out four 'Dogs in double figures.
Fresno State will next play on Wednesday night back at the Save Mart Center when the Bulldogs host the Air Force Falcons at 7 p.m. PT. The Falcons are 2-0 in Mountain West play.
"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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