Feb. 27, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo. --- Sharp-shooting junior guard Kevin Olekaibe came out firing from the start and finished by tying a Mountain West record even as the Fresno State men's basketball team didn't have enough firepower or muscle in losing 74-67 to Colorado State on Wednesday night at Moby Arena.
Olekaibe, who tied the MW game record for best 3-point shooting percentage by going 6-for-6 from beyond the 3-point arc for his team-high 18 points, showed how dangerous he can be on the offensive end of the floor and forced the Rams to tighten up their defense on the 6-1 junior guard.
The Bulldogs matched the toughness and voracity that has earned the Rams national respect under first-year head coach Larry Eustachy - the 2000 National Coach of the Year - for the entire first half and parts of the second half before CSU turned to the glass to escape Fresno State's near upset.
Behind 15 first-half points off Olekaibe's hot hand, including a banked-in 3-pointer to start the show, Fresno State converted at an absolutely blistering rate of 64 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and trailed just 37-34 to a team that sits alone in second place in the Mountain West standings.
But it was that grit and refusal to quit that allowed the Bulldogs to later turn a nine-point second half deficit into just a two-point CSU advantage with 10:02 to play.
CSU then netted 10 unanswered points to then expand its lead to 63-51 and relied on its strength on the glass to outmuscle the Bulldogs down the stretch. Freshman Marvelle Harris had 14 points for the 'Dogs and both Tyler Johnson and Robert Upshaw fouled out for Fresno State in the waning minutes of the game.
Dorian Green added 16 points and Colton Iverson 12 points and 12 rebounds for Colorado State (22-6, 9-4 Mountain West). It was Iverson's 13th double-double of the season.
The win snapped Colorado State's two-game losing streak and continued to cement its potential NCAA Tournament at-large bid if the Rams need it.
Fresno State (9-18, 3-11 Mountain West) will return to action when the Bulldogs play their final home game of the season on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. PT versus Air Force. Fans are asked to arrive early to say goodbye to the Bulldogs' seniors, who will be honored during a pre-game ceremony.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Join us for the Bulldogs' Senior Night when Fresno State hosts Air Force on March 2. Tickets can be purchased starting at special price of $5 for members of the military, $17 for adults and $9 for youth through www.gobulldogs.com or at the Save Mart Center Box Office. Fresno State is also holding a special Cyber Sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday where tickets purchased online are available for just $10.