Bulldogs Set Tone Early in First MW Win
Jan. 16, 2013
By Stephen Trembley & Andrew Rich
By Stephen Trembley & Andrew Rich
FRESNO, Calif. --- In what was billed as a defensive showdown between two of the top defensive teams in the Mountain West, the Fresno State men's basketball team lived up to their end of the bargain in shutting down Wyoming 49-36 Wednesday night at the Save Mart Center.
"This win tonight is a byproduct of what we do every day," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "We pride ourselves on guarding really hard. It is about what we do on every possession."
The possessions were at a premium in this matchup - that featured just 33 field goal attempts for the victors, who used just eight players in their rotation that systematically wore down a Wyoming team receiving votes in both national polls and that was ranked No. 25 in the nation as recently as last week.
"I mean it just boils down to preparation - this whole week we've just been preparing," junior forward Jerry Brown said. "Coach (Terry) gave us a good scouting report. If we follow the scouting report, Coach just makes everything basic for us and just makes it so we can have fun. Today we did a good job just executing the scouting report and it just makes everything that much better for us."
The Bulldogs, who entered the contest third in scoring defense in the conference at 60.9 points per game, limited the Cowboys to 16 first-half points and . They also held Wyoming's leading scorer, Leonard Washington, to six points. He had been averaging 14.9 coming in to the contest.
"We knew going in we were going to be playing against one of the better players in the Mountain West Conference," Terry said. "Leonard Washington has had a great year to this point, not just in conference play, but out of conference play as well. We knew we were really going to have to go after him a little bit and make him guard and play on both ends of the floor."
And did the 'Dogs ever swarm Washington in the post, which forced the Pokes into retreat mode by tossing up 27 3-point attempts, but only converted five of them.
After falling victim to a big run Saturday at New Mexico, Fresno State used a run of their own to help give the Cowboys just their second loss on the season. Trailing 11-5 at the 14:13 mark of the first half, the `Dogs went on a 21-5 run to take a 26-16 lead into the half.
The run extended to 36-10 at the 8:59 mark of the second half that gave Fresno State its largest lead of the night at 41-21 and the outcome was never in doubt the rest of the way.
The return of Tyler Johnson was a welcome sight to Bulldog fans. The junior scored a team-high 18 points in his first game since injuring his ankle last week against San Diego State. Johnson was 6 of 8 from the field and added a team-high six rebounds for the Bulldogs (7-9, 1-2 Mountain West), who now have held 14 of their 16 opponents to fewer than 70 points.
As a team, the 'Dogs shot 51.5 percent (17-of-33) from the field, including a 64.7 percent clip in the first half alone. The Bulldogs' defense held Wyoming to a season-low 24 percent (12-of-50) on field goal attempts - more than 10 percent lower than its preview low back on Nov. 10 against Western State.
Riley Grabau and Larry Nance Jr. led the Cowboys (14-2, 1-2) with 10 points apiece.
Fresno State (7-9, 1-2 MW) hosts Nevada (9-7, 0-2 MW) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. PT.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Fresno State's 4-Game Flex Mini-Plan starts as low as $14 per game and can be purchased by calling 559-278-DOGS (Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) or visiting www.gobulldogs.com/miniplan. The flagship radio stations for Fresno State men's basketball are KMJ 580 AM (English) and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Spanish).