Dec. 3, 2012
By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
LONG BEACH, Calif. --- Junior Tyler Johnson scored a career-best 19 points to lead the Fresno State men's basketball team past Long Beach State 64-59 inside the Pyramid on Monday night.
"I stayed confident in my teammates as they kept saying to keep grinding and going after it," Johnson said about his preparation for the game. "It paid off tonight."
Fresno State (4-3) took advantage of a strong second half that featured a 15-8 run to give the Bulldogs their first lead since the opening minutes when Johnson drilled a 3-pointer for a 40-39 lead just over five minutes after halftime.
"We were much better this time around in our set defense," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "We wanted to play downhill all night. We played to get to the free throw and came out aggressively in the second half."
Fresno State outshot LBSU 51.9 percent to 29.6 percent in the second half and the Bulldogs didn't allow a single second-half 3-pointer while holding the 49ers' Peter Pappageorge scoreless all night.
"We were missing open looks early, so Coach told us at half to stay focused and find a way to knock them down," Johnson said.
Johnson scored 13 of his team-high 19 in the second half - including all three of his 3-pointers - while avoiding foul trouble that had cost him playing time down the stretch in recent games.
Fresno State guards Marvelle Harris and Allen Huddleston each added nine points each with Robert Upshaw and Kevin Olekaibe both chipping in seven points through the net. Harris' length and agility helped him swipe a game-high three steals.
Junior forward Jerry Brown III pulled down seven rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, and reserve freshman point guard Aaron Anderson dished out a career-high four assists while also scoring his first points as a Bulldog with six total off the bench.
Senior Garrett Johnson, who earned his first start since the 2010-11 season, along with Olekaibe and Huddleston each posted a pair of assists.
LBSU did get a double-double from James Ennis (23 point/13 rebounds), but struggled mightily at the free throw line in converting only 54.5 percent at the charity stripe as a team.
The Bulldogs' win marked their third road win this season and fourth overall in their first seven games. The win helped improve the Mountain West's nation-best start to the season to 53-11 collectively by all MW schools.
Fresno State returns home for a Thursday night game versus San Diego Christian at 7 p.m. PT at the Save Mart Center.
The 'Dogs then head back on the road for a Sunday noon matchup at Washington State to complete a stretch that has Fresno State play six of its first nine games of the year away from home.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Fresno State men's basketball mini-plans - the Holiday Gift Package (starts as low as $35) and the Mountain West Mini-Plan (starts as low as $85) - are on sale now by calling 559-278-DOGS or visiting www.gobulldogs.com/miniplan. The flagship radio stations for Fresno State men's basketball are KMJ 580 AM (English) and ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Spanish).
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