Fresno State begins its home WAC slate against Hawai'i on Thursday night at the Save Mart Center.
Jan. 9, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. -
Two of the Western Athletic Conference's departing members will meet on the Save Mart Center hardwood Thursday night at 7 p.m. when Fresno State hosts Hawai'i in the Bulldogs' final WAC home opener.
The conference contest is the first of three consecutive home games for the 'Dogs after they played 12 of its first 17 games away from the San Joaquin Valley.
GAME 18/WAC 03: Preview - Fresno State vs. Hawai'i Notes
GAME 18/WAC 03: Fresno State (7-10, 0-2) vs. Hawai'i (9-6, 1-0)
Date: Thursday, January 12, 2012 (Tip Off: 7 p.m. PT)
Site: Save Mart Center (15,596); Fresno, Calif.
Radio: KMJ 580 AM (Paul Loeffler/Randy Rosenbloom)
Online: All-Access (www.gobulldogs.com/allaccess)
Next Up: Fresno State hosts San Jose State on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.
Quick Bulldog Bites
Fresno State has traveled 17,030 miles through its first 17 games of the season
Fresno State is 6-0 when holding opponents to less than 60 points
Fresno State is 7-1 against Hawai'i in games played at the Save Mart Center
Fresno State leads the WAC in turnover margin (+2.53), fewest turnovers per game (11.3)
K. Olekaibe ranks in the top 10 sophomores, second in WAC in scoring (18.0 ppg)
J. Wills ranks in the top 25 seniors, leads WAC in free throw efficiency (70-79, 88.6%)
S. Shepp ranks in the top 25 seniors, third in WAC in assists/game (4.7 apg)
K. Foster, T. Johnson, & J. Wills each earned their first career double-doubles this season
About the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors
Hawai'i (Western Athletic) is 9-6 on the season with a 1-0 mark in WAC play after beating San Jose State 82-69 on the islands, but owns a 1-2 record on the mainland. UH's Zane Johnson leads the Rainbow Warriors in scoring (14.7 rpg) and Vander Joaquim averages nearly a double-double (12.6 ppg/9.5 rpg). Fresno State owns a 20-17 edge all-time over Hawai'i.
LAST WEEK: 'Dogs Raided in Final Ticks by Idaho, Fall to Sharp-Shooting Aggies
Fresno State opened its final season in the WAC with road losses at Utah State (72-53) and Idaho (63-59). At USU, Jonathan Wills netted a team-best 16 points, but the Bulldogs couldn't contain the lights-out 65.1 percent shooting clip by the defending conference champion. Two days later at Idaho, the 'Dogs couldn't overcome the Vandals' season-best 88 percent free throw percentage despite stout defense and an efficient shooting night from the floor.
Bulldogs Beat Boise State in 2012 Opener
Up-tempo basketball propelled Fresno State to a 72-59 wire-to-wire non-conference victory over the Mountain West's Boise State to a third straight 'Dogs win. Steven Shepp led four Bulldogs in double figures by scoring a career-high 18 points and added seven assists with no turnovers. Kevin Foster recorded his first career double-double (11 points/11 rebounds).
Olekaibe Lighting Up the Nets
Even as teams gameplan to stop him, Bulldogs' guard Kevin Olekaibe is a scoring machine or opens up the offense for his teammates. He ranks in the top ten sophomore scorers and second in the WAC at 18.0 points per game. This season, Olekaibe has scored in double-digits in ten games and topped the 25-point mark five times.
'Dogs Rally to Beat Arizona State in Absolute Thriller
Fresno State erased a 17-point first-half deficit and stunned the Pacific-12's Arizona State 68-65 in an absolute thriller. With the 'Dogs down 65-64, sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer from the left wing and 29.9 seconds remaining. Olekaibe scored 21 of his career-high 30 points in the second half to rally Fresno State and fueled the Bulldogs' incredible 32-8 run over a 14-minute span in Tempe.
Bulldogs Net 82-52 Win Over Pac-12's Utah
The Bulldogs came out firing right from the start and used an all-around team effort for a dominating 82-52 victory the Pacific-12's Utah on Saturday afternoon at the Save Mart Center. Fresno State never trailed as Kevin Foster scored a career-high 16 points, Kevin Olekaibe and Steven Shepp both reached 15 points each, and Jonathan Wills added 11 points.
'Dogs Picked 6th, 7th in Preseason WAC Polls
The Bulldogs know they have some work to do to exceed the expectations of the WAC head coaches and media, who picked the Fresno State men's basketball team to finish sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 2011-12 preseason selections. Nevada and Utah State were tabbed as the early frontrunners by the coaches and media.
'Dogs Field Two Seniors for First Time in Four Years
For the first time in four years, Fresno State sports more than one senior with point guard Steven Shepp and wing Jonathan Wills suiting up as fifth-year seniors. Shepp is in his third season with the 'Dogs after starting at Allegany College and Wills is in his second in a Bulldog uniform as a D-I transfer from New Mexico. Both averaged 3.8 points per game last year.
Fresno State Remains WAC's Top Overall Program Over Past Nine Years
With its strong commitment to superior athletic competition and academic performance, Fresno State finished second in the last two Western Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup races and remained the top program throughout the nine years of the award. The 'Dogs rank first among the current WAC institutions, ahead of Nevada and Hawai'i as the top three WAC schools. Fresno State is one of three repeat Cup winners (2007-08 & 2008-09), along with Rice University (2003-04 & 2004-05) and Boise State University (2009-10 & 2010-11).
Welty Accepts 'Dogs Invitation to Join Mountain West Conference
President John D. Welty announced last summer that Fresno State accepted an invitation to become a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs will leave the Western Athletic Conference after the 2011-12 season to compete against Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming.
"We Are Your Team!" - Fresno State returns to the San Joaquin Valley for their last Western Athletic Conference home opener when the 'Dogs host Hawai'i on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.gobulldogs.com and the Save Mart Center Box Office. Be sure to follow @RodneyTerry on Twitter for updates all year long.