Feb. 22, 2014
By: Andrew Rich
By: Andrew Rich
LOGAN, Utah -- Fresno State jumped to a 16-point lead, saw that lead be completely erased in the second half, and then battled down the stretch to pull out a 79-76 win over Utah State (15-12, 5-10 MW) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah on Saturday night.
It was the Bulldogs' sixth win in their last seven games.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Fresno State third-year head coach Rodney Terry said. "We were playing against an extremely efficient offensive team that can really score. Their guys can really shoot and they've got great bigs inside. We were going against a really good offensive team tonight and I thought our guys did a much better job of defending. I'm extremely proud of the way they hung tough in a tough place to play."
Tyler Johnson, who scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, led the Bulldogs on a 21-6 run over a seven minute span in the middle of the first half that helped Fresno State (14-14, 7-8) build a 34-18 lead. That would be the largest lead of the night for either team. Johnson scored eight of the 21 points during the run, including knocking down two three-pointers.
The Aggies had an answer.
They cut the lead Bulldogs' lead down to 39-33 at the half and then with 15:52 left in the game, Utah State took a 45-44 lead. It was the first time that the Aggies had led since there was just under 15 minutes left in the first half.
From that point, the game was back-and-forth the whole way. However, it was the Bulldogs who always had an answer.
The biggest answers came from freshman Paul Watson. At two different points with under eight minutes to play, Utah State cut the Fresno State lead to three, but each time Watson was able to knock down shots from beyond the arc. Watson tied a career-high with four three-pointers and also tied a career-high with 20 points.
Fresno State closed it out down the stretch with their defense. They did not allow the Aggies to make a field goal for almost a four-minute stretch in the last six minutes of the game.
Johnson recorded the eighth double-double of the season and the tenth of his career. Besides him and Watson, Marvelle Harris also scored double figures, pouring in 15 points. The trio combined for 56 of the Bulldogs' 79 points.
The Bulldogs made 11 of 23 shots from behind the three-point line and limited Utah State, one of the better three-point shooting teams in the conference, to just 6 of 21. Fresno State was also a perfect 10-for-10 at the free throw line.
Fresno State now comes home for a two-game homestand against two of the top teams in the conference in Boise State and San Diego State. It starts on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., when the `Dogs take on the Broncos. Boise State is coming off of a 91-90 overtime win over UNLV and is just a game and a half ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings.
"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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