March 9, 2013
LAS VEGAS - With absolutely no fear and relishing a golden opportunity, the Fresno State men's basketball team took control of its destiny by defeating the UNLV Runnin' Rebels 61-52 on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"This win was one of the best I have been a part of in my 17 years coaching Division I basketball," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "I'm really proud of my guys."
Bulldogs' senior Kevin Foster posted his sixth career double-double with a game-high 25 points with a career-best six 3-pointers, and added 10 rebounds to lead the 'Dogs to their first-ever season sweep of the Rebels.
Junior guard Kevin Olekaibe scored 13 points paired with a career-high eight assists - which doubled his previous high single-game mark of four.
With the win, Fresno State (11-18, 5-11 Mountain West) will enter the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships, which will also be hosted at the Thomas & Mack Center, as the No. 7 seed. The `Dogs will open on Wednesday against the No. 2 seed Colorado State.
After falling behind 10-4, the Bulldogs went on a 30-13 run over the next the 10:40 for their largest lead of the game at 34-23. During the run, Fresno state took the lead for good when Foster drained his third of five first-half 3-pointers with 8:30 left before halftime.
Fresno State led for the final 28 minutes and 30 seconds of play and did not allow UNLV to make a field goal during the last 9:51 of the game.
Foster had 19 of his 25 points in the first-half, including a 5-for-5 clip beyond the 3-point arc. He finished 9-of-21 from the floor.
"Our coaches gave us a great scouting report and put us in a great position all game," Foster said. "We were able to execute it tonight, but now our focus is solely on next opponent."
The second half featured more impressive play from the Bulldogs' defense and Fresno State matched the Rebels on the glass as each team pulled down 41 rebounds. The Rebels had entered as the league's second-best rebounding team.
Fresno State's Allen Huddleston added seven points - all at the free throw line - and registered four steals. Freshman center Robert Upshaw grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds - his first career game with double-digits off the glass.
UNLV (23-8, 10-6 MW) was led by 11 points from both Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall, and despite the loss, the Rebels are widely considered a lock for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, if needed.
The historic win for Fresno State was the program's first road win over UNLV in school history, and snapped UNLV's 16-game home conference win streak and marked just the second home loss for the Rebels in their past 36 games.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Single-session tickets for the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Men's and Women's Basketball Championships went on sale Friday, March 1 at Noon PT. Prices for single-session tickets range from $20 to $40 for general admission and reserved seating for all eight sessions of the Championships. To purchase tickets, log on to UNLVTickets.com, call 702-739-3267 or 866-388-3267, or visit any one of the UNLVTickets outlets in Las Vegas.