March 31, 2014
By: Andrew Rich
By: Andrew Rich
FRESNO, Calif. -- Fresno State had Game 1 of the College Basketball Invitational Championship Series in its grasp. A 12-point lead early in the second half and all of the momentum and then Siena turned to their pressure defense and the story flipped from there. The Saints finished the game on a 33-17 run and stole Game 1 61-57 on Monday night at the Save Mart Center.
The Bulldogs scored eight of the first ten points of the second half to turn a six point halftime lead into a 12-point advantage with 16:49 to play. Siena's pressure defense forced Fresno State into nine turnovers in the final 13 minutes of play, including seven in a stretch of five and half minutes that saw a 47-37 Bulldog lead get turned into a 50-49 deficit.
Fresno State held Siena to just 33.3% (21-of-63) shooting from the field, including just 30% in the second half. Where the Saints hurt the Bulldogs was on the offensive glass. Siena pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, 10 in the second half, and turned those into second chance points and trips to the free-throw line. Point guard Marquis Wright led the team with five offensive boards.
After not shooting a free throw the entire first half, the Saints marched to the line 17 times in the final 20 minutes and knocked down 15. Rob Poole nailed the final two of the night with 2.2 seconds to play to put the game away.
Before the free throws from Poole that iced the game, Fresno State had two possessions in the final 29 seconds to tie or take the lead. The first possession resulted in a loose ball being called a jump ball and the possession arrow going to the Siena. Then after Siena had turned the ball back over to the Bulldogs, Marvelle Harris was called for a player control foul with 2.9 seconds left.
Now the Bulldogs will need to win two games in Loudonville, New York to complete the comeback in the best-of-3 CBI Championship Series. Game 2 will take place on Wednesday night at 4 p.m. PT.
"Catch the Wave!" - The 2013-14 Fresno State men's basketball team's trip to the CBI Championship Series can be heard live on 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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