STOCKTON, Calif. - Fresno State passed another road test and grinded their way to a 55-47 victory at Pacific on Thursday night.
Bulldogs senior Jonathan Wills scored all of his 12 points in the second half to help Fresno State (6-8) hand the Tigers, who had downed Utah State and Hawai'i earlier this season at the Spanos Center, their first home loss of the season.
"It wasn't pretty, but we grinded and beat a good team on the road," head coach Rodney Terry said. "We missed a lot of open jump shots, but our effort and energy gave us a great lift. This is a tough building to come in and beat Pacific on their home floor."
After falling behind during the first four minutes, Fresno State used a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game and never trailed for the final 36 minutes. The 'Dogs led by as many as 12 in the first half and held the Tigers to just 16 first-half points for a 22-16 edge at halftime.
Pacific climbed to within three behind an 11-8 spurt to start the second half, but Fresno State drew on its strong second half production all year to fend off every Tiger charge.
With 5:19 remaining, the Bulldogs reserve guard Larry McGaughey drained a 3-pointer and Tyler Johnson later added a follow basket to give the Bulldogs a 45-35 lead. They cruised to the finish from there.
Johnson tallied his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, eight of each coming in the second half.
"Coach had been telling us how to take the next step, we need to get good wins on the road and we came together and got one tonight," Johnson said.
Fellow sophomore Kevin Olekaibe, the Bulldogs leading scorer the past two seasons, added nine points over 28 minutes despite being limited following a bruise suffered on a hard fall early in the second half. Olekaibe is expected to be available for Monday night's non-conference home game against Boise State.
Lorenzo McCloud scored 13 points to lead Pacific. Colin Beatty had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (4-7), who lost their fourth in a row and first at home this season.
The Bulldogs limited Pacific to 36 percent shooting, and the Tigers made just 40 percent of their free throws and 18 percent of their 3-point attempts.
"We Are Your Team!" --- The Bulldogs return home to play the Mountain West's Boise State on Monday night at 7 p.m. PT in both team's 2012 opener. Tickets are available at the Save Mart Center Box Office or online at www.gobulldogs.com. Be sure to also follow head coach Rodney Terry's tweets all season on Twitter (@RodneyTerry).
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