No. 21 Men's Basketball Upset By San Diego State 93-78
Dec 8, 2001
By BERNIE WILSON
SAN DIEGO - Al Faux matched his season-high with 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and San Diego State beat No. 21 Fresno State 93-78 on Saturday night to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.
Fresno State, coming off a 10-point loss to Gonzaga, played without Melvin Ely, its leading scorer and rebounder, who was benched again while the school investigates whether he received an improper benefit.
Ely, averaging 19.9 points and 9.3 rebounds, missed two games earlier this season, then was cleared to play in the Bulldogs' previous two games.
Fresno State obtained new information during its investigation and decided to hold out Ely indefinitely, spokesman Steve Weakland said before the game.
The victory was a huge turnaround for San Diego State (5-3), which was outhustled in a five-point loss to San Diego on Wednesday. The Aztecs came out inspired against Fresno State (7-3), and won for just the second time in 29 games against a ranked team since beating No. 7 BYU on Feb. 18, 1988.
The Aztecs' last win over a ranked team was 81-72 over No. 21 Hawaii on Jan. 10, 1998. Since moving up to Division I in 1969-70, San Diego State is just 10-64 against ranked teams.
San Diego State hadn't beaten Fresno State since March 8, 1995, in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, and has won just twice in 19 games against the Bulldogs dating to 1978.
With Ely out, Chris Jefferies scored a career-high 27 points for Fresno State, beating his old high of 25 set against Montana State in the Preseason NIT on Nov. 13.
San Diego State led 41-40 at halftime, then took control by going on a 15-5 run opening the second half for a 56-45 lead with 15:40 to play.
Faux hit two 3-pointers, and after the second one he stole the ball and fed
Tony Bland, whose pull-up jumper gave the Aztecs the 11-point lead and forced
Fresno to call timeout.
The closest Fresno got after that was 69-64 after Damon Jackson made a fastbreak layup with 7:33 left. Bland answered with a fastbreak layup of his own, after a block by Chris Walton.
Starting with a bucket by Brandon Smith, the Aztecs outscored Fresno State 22-12 over the final 5:06.
San Diego State's Randy Holcomb, who spent the first two years of his career at Fresno State, scored 19 points and Mike Mackell had 17. Bland, the Aztecs' leading scorer with a 20.9 average, had just three at halftime and finished with 15.
Jackson scored 19 and Hiram Fuller 12 for Fresno State.