March 13, 2013
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Fresno State men's basketball team saw its season come to an end Wednesday at the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships with a hard-fought 67-61 loss to Colorado State in the quarterfinals at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Fresno State, the No. 7 seed, ends the year with an 11-19 record. No. 2 seed CSU improved to 25-7 overall and advances to face UNLV Friday night in the semifinals.
"We knew coming into this game it was going to be a hard fought contest," head coach Rodney Terry said. "I thought our guys really competed at a very high level. We left it all out on the floor."
There were 12 lead changes and eight ties in what was a very tight game most of the way. CSU pulled out to a nine-point lead with 6:03 to play before the Bulldogs came back to make it a two-point game with two minutes to go.
Colorado State, who was 25-of-37 from the free-throw line in the game, hit 4-of-6 at the line down the stretch and got a crucial 3-pointer from Wes Eikmeier with a minute to go to hold off the Fresno State comeback.
Eikmeier had a game-high 18 points to lead the Rams and he was 9-of-10 at the charity stripe.
"Well, if you look at it as a whole, I think free throws were the biggest part of the game for us," Terry said after watching his team go 13-of-23 at the line. "We shot 56 percent from the line. We've been pretty consistent. We've made those over the last three ball games. It's given us great momentum in terms of opportunities to win ballgames."
The Bulldogs held an early 16-15 lead 10 minutes in after a jumper in the lane from Brown. Brown scored six of the last nine points for the 'Dogs in the stretch he capped off with that jumper.
Greg Smith was carrying CSU early on. He had nine of CSU's first 16 points before the Rams went on a 6-0 run to lead 22-19.
The Bulldogs countered that though with 3-pointers from Allen Huddleston and Kevin Foster and finished the half on a 10-4 run to lead 29-26 at the break. CSU only had one field goal in the last five minutes of the opening half and shot just 34.6 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Johnson, after going 1-for-5 in the first half, hit his first three shots out of the break and scored the first seven points for the 'Dogs.
The Bulldogs were whistled for eight team fouls in the first eight minutes of the second half, setting up 11 CSU free-throw attempts. The Rams hit nine of those and after a pair by Colton Iverson, Colorado State led 43-39 with 11:48 to play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Ram guard Daniel Bejarano put CSU on-top 49-42, which up to that point had been the largest lead of the game. The treys started a 12-4 run that gave CSU a 55-46 lead with 6:04 remaining.
Harris kept the Bulldogs in the game, scoring eight-straight points, albeit over a four-and-a-half minute stretch. Then a high floater form Johnson in the lane at 2:41 cut the Ram lead down to 55-53.
It was a three-point Ram lead until Eikmeier hit a 3-pointer from the wing with a minute remaining and that put the dagger in Fresno State's comeback attempt.