FRESNO, Calif. -
The day only happens every 100 years and Fresno State is celebrating the arrival of new head coach Rodney Terry with its season and home opener against Illinois State on Nov. 11, 2011.
The Veterans' Day showcase, which will start at 7 p.m. and take place at the Save Mart Center, will honor all active and retired military personnel with free tickets, along with tickets in selected sections starting at $11 for the general public.
Fresno State vs. Illinois State (Season & Home Opener)
Date: Friday, November 11, 2011 (Tip Off: 7 p.m. PT)
Site: Save Mart Center (15,596); Fresno, Calif.
Radio: KMJ 580 AM (Paul Loeffler/Randy Rosenbloom); ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Jesse Beltran/Octavio Duarte)
Online: Bulldog All-Access at www.GoBulldogs.com (Video/Audio)
Up Next: Fresno State at Stanford (Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. - ESPNU)
About the Illinois State Redbirds
Illinois State (Missouri Valley Conference) is coming off a 12-19 season and went 2-10 on the road. The Redbirds are under the direction of Tim Jankovich (136-108, 8th Season) and led by returning junior forward Jackie Carmichael (9.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg). ILSU won the only previous meeting between the schools, a 60-40 victory back in 1987.
Rodney Terry Begins First Season at Fresno State
When Rodney Terry decided to become Fresno State's 18th head men's basketball coach, he knew the Bulldogs needed to change their mentality to compete at the highest level. He has emphasized accountability, attitude and tenacious effort. The Bulldogs' tough non-conference schedule features five Pacific-12 opponents, including four of those on the road.
Olekaibe's 29 Leads `Dogs to Victory Over Sunbirds in Annual Exhibition
Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe hit seven 3-pointers and scored 29 points as Terry's team hit the court for a 73-53 victory over Fresno Pacific in an exhibition contest. Fresno State improved to 5-0 against FPU, which resides less than eight miles from the Bulldogs' campus.
Olekaibe Primed for Breakout Sophomore Season Kevin Olekaibe hit the weight room and court hard in the offseason to get ready for his sophomore season patrolling the Bulldogs' backcourt. He led the team in scoring during the 2010-11 season with an average of 12.0 points and 1.1 steals per game. Olekaibe and Garrett Johnson (8.1 ppg/1.2 apg) are the only two returning starters from last year's squad.
Fresno State Back in NIT Season Tip Off
The Bulldogs return to the national spotlight during the NIT Season Tip Off. It is the program's third appearance all-time and first since 2001 when the 'Dogs advanced to Madison Square Garden for the tournament's semifinals. Fresno State opens West Region action at Stanford on ESPNU on Nov. 14 in the West Region bracket. In their five previous preseason NIT games, the Bulldogs are 3-2 with wins over Michigan State, USC and Montana State.
Bulldogs in Openers
Fresno State is 62-24 in season openers and 67-19 in home openers. The Bulldogs have not lost a home opener since Jerry Tarkanian's first game as head coach in 1995. That last loss came in Selland Arena when the `Dogs lost to Weber State 102-86 during the Preseason NIT. The Bulldogs are 8-0 in home openers at the Save Mart Center.
'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.
Hefeng, Johnson Steal Show at Annual Red & White Hoops Night
At the Bulldogs' annual Red & Whites Hoops Night, freshman Grant Hefeng and junior Grant Johnson stole the show in the skills competitions. Hefeng won the dunk contest and Johnson took home the 3-point shooting crown Sophomore Kevin Olekaibe, who led Fresno State in scoring last year, swished in a team-high nine points during the 10-minute scrimmage.
Single Game Hoops Ticket on Sale
Men's single game tickets are $25, $18, or $15 depending on seat section. Discounts are available to youth 2-18 years of age. To secure single-game tickets, you can visit Ticketmaster online, through ticketmaster.com, call 1-800-745-3000 or visit the Save Mart Center Box Office between 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday-Friday).
"Our Town, Your Team" - Fresno State opens the 2011-12 regular season at home on Nov. 11, when the Bulldogs host Illinois State at 7 p.m. at the Save Mart Center. Admission starts at $11 for the general public and will be free for veterans, active duty military and Fresno State students.