By Andrew Rich
FRESNO, Calif. -- The Fresno State men's basketball team made a push late in the game, but couldn't quite get over the hump on Saturday evening in an 89-78 loss to defending Mountain West Conference champion New Mexico.
"So we've shown some things and we've grown, again we just don't have the results to show for it and we just got to keep battling," head coach Rodney Terry said. "I told our guys a little while ago, we got to stay positive and we're going to get to where we want to get to. We got a lot of young guys over there that fought, I thought the effort was there."
The Bulldogs and Lobos combined to shoot 74 free throws and committed 52 fouls. There were 44 fouls and 69 free throws in the second half alone.
New Mexico (13-4, 4-1 MW), which returned four starters off last year's championship team, used a 13-0 run to give them the separation they needed. The run started at the 4:24 mark of the first half with Fresno State (8-11, 1-5) leading, 27-23. Cezar Guerrero's jumper with 17:27 left in the game brought the run to an end, but the Lobos lead was up to nine at that point and the Bulldogs struggled to cut into the deficit.
The lead was extended to 18 with 7:36 left to play, but Fresno State was able to cut it to under 10 on five separate occasions. However, the Bulldogs only got as close as seven and that came at 80-73 with 1:34 to play.
New Mexico made nine of its' last 10 free throws to put the game away.
Senior Cameron Bairstow finished with a game 22 points, 14 coming at the free-throw line. Joining him in double figures were teammates Cullen Neal (17 points), Kendall Williams (13), Alex Kirk (12) and Cleveland Thomas (10).
The Bulldogs return to the Save Mart Center on Wednesday night when they host second-place Nevada at 7:00 p.m. The Wolf Pack has been off since last Tuesday, when they suffered their first conference loss against Boise State.
"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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