WSU Claws Past 'Dogs Down the Stretch
Dec. 9, 2012
By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
PULLMAN, Wash. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team used its tenacious defense to give Washington State fits all afternoon, but struggled from beyond the 3-point arc in losing 59-50 to the Cougars on Sunday afternoon on Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum.
"We have to find a way to finish," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "We had wide open looks and just couldn't knock them down."
After building a three-point lead at 41-38 with 12:31 to play, the Bulldogs allowed WSU to score 21 of the game's final 30 points in game where Fresno State couldn't convert when it needed to - hitting just 2-of-20 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Bulldogs' freshman center Robert Upshaw made his first start and hit five of his last six shots in the first half. He finished with a career-best 10 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and an assist.
"Robert still has a lot to learn both on and off the floor, but he did some good things today," Terry said. "He gave us a real presence in the first half and forced Washington State to adjust. He has a chance to be a very good player for us."
Junior Jerry Brown III inserted a spark from the bench, as Fresno State's reserves outscored the Cougars' bench 19-6. Brown tallied a team-high 12 points and Allen Huddleston added 10 points for his seventh double-digit scoring effort of the season.
Washington State used senior Brock Motum's 23 points and eight rebounds to recover from a tough loss to No. 10 Gonzaga on Wednesday. WSU senior Mike Ladd scored 19 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock with six minutes to play, to help lift his current team past his former squad. Ladd played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Fresno State before transferring to Pullman.
"The credit goes to Washington State for getting the job done today," Terry said. "Brock is a great shooter and made us pay."
Despite the loss, the Fresno State defense delivered a quality effort in logging a season-best 16 offensive rebounds, nine steals and seven blocks while holding WSU to just 40.4 percent (19-of-47) from the floor.
But it was the Bulldogs' cold long-range shooting and inability to execute enough on offense, including their third game this year with just three assists, that prevented Fresno State from earning its third win over a Pac-12 opponent under Terry.
Fresno State (5-4) will get another chance on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. PT, when the 'Dogs return to the Save Mart Center to host Colorado (7-2). The full Bulldog Marching Band will deliver a special pre-game performance.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Fresno State's Mountain West Mini-Plan starts as low as $85 and can be purchased by calling 559-278-DOGS (Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) 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).