No. 21 Men's Basketball Takes on Wake Forest in Preseason NIT
Melvin Ely and the 21st-ranked Bulldogs will take on Wake Forest on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.
Melvin Ely and the 21st-ranked Bulldogs will take on Wake Forest on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.

Nov. 20, 2001

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

This Week
Fresno State advanced to the Preseason NIT semifinals and will play Wake Forest Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Madison Square Garden. If the Bulldogs win they will play the winner of the Michigan State vs. Syracuse match-up in Friday's championship game. A loss puts the 'Dogs in Friday's consolation game against the loser of fhe other semifinal game.

Last Week
The Bulldogs won the first two games of the season, both in the Preseason NIT, defeating Montana State 92-70 on Nov. 13 and the a win over No. 20 USC 65-58. Fresno State's 92 points against Montana State were the most scored in a Preseason NIT game this season.

Sandy Out
Fresno State's eligibility appeal to the NCAA on behalf of junior guard Chris Sandy has been denied. The NCAA said Sandy did not meet the NCAA satisfactory progress requirements. The NCAA did not accept Fresno State's rationale that was stated in its appeal. The school has filed a second appeal, according to Interim Athletics Director Scott Johnson.

Against the Preseason NIT Field
Fresno State owns a 1-0 all-time record against Wake Forest having won the only meeting 86-62 in 1982-83 in the semifinals if the NIT played at Madison Square Garden. Fresno State won the NIT that year. The Bulldogs are 2-1 against Michigan State, losing last year's ngame 81-65 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. FS and Syracuse have never played.

Up Next
Fresno State travels to Pacific Nov. 28 for its first road game of the season.

Fab Four Tickets Available
Fresno State has been allotted 1,500 tickets for the Fab Four Classic on Dec. 6 at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. Fresno State plays Gonzaga at 6:30 p.m. and USC plays Pepperdine at 9 p.m. in the doubleheader. Tickets are available for $35 and $25 for both games of the event. Tickets are available at the Bulldog Ticket Office or by calling (559) 278-DOGS.

Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian
Jerry Tarkanian returned to his alma mater 40 years after he graduated and has put Fresno State on the national basketball map with unprecedented national exposure. After five consecutive 20-win seasons and four trips to the NIT, the Bulldogs have made two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001. Tarkanian has guided two other programs to the NCAA tournament, Long Beach State and UNLV, and has made 17 appearances in the Big Dance. During his coaching career, he has led his teams to four appearances in the NCAA Final Four (UNLV in 1977, 1987, 1990 and 1991), one national championship (UNLV in 1989-90) and owns a 38-17 record in 17 NCAA tournament appearances. In 36 years at the major college and junior college levels he has never suffered a losing season and never failed to win at least 16 games for 36 consecutive years. Forty-two of his players have been drafted by NBA teams, including 12 first-round selections. His six consecutive 20-win seasons with the Bulldogs - the only time that feat has been accomplished in the history of Bulldog basketball - have brought him to 29 20-win seasons in his career, the best among active coaches. He stands behind only Dean Smith, who had 30 such seasons before retiring from the game in 1997, on the all-time list. Each year, Tarkanian and Kansas' Roy Williams battle for the top spot in winning percentage among active coaches, with Tark leading by thousandths of a point. Tark's record is testament to 29 years of coaching at the major college level. He stands fourth on the all-time win percentage list and reigned for several years as the all-time winningest coach prior to coming to Fresno State. Tarkanian wasted no time bringing the Bulldogs back to national prominence when he took a team that had gone 13-15 the previous year and led it to a 22-win season, a third-place WAC finish and the quarterfinals of the NIT during the 1995-96 season. In 1997-98 the Bulldogs were 21-13 and made it to the semifinals of the NIT before falling to 1997 Final Four participant Minnesota. NIT champion Cal defeated Fresno State in the first round of postseason play in 1999. On the day Fresno State officials introduced him as the Bulldogs' new head coach, April 5, 1995, Tarkanian hinted at better days for the Bulldogs and the Red Wave. "I never really thought this would happen, but if there was any way that I could end my coaching career here, this would be the best place," said Tarkanian, who had not coached at the college level since leaving UNLV at the end of the 1992 season. "It's a great opportunity for me. I'm excited. I've always said that the Red Wave are perhaps the very best fans in the entire country, and hopefully we can get the program going to the level that will bring a lot of excitement and pride to the people in the San Joaquin Valley." And the fans have responded. Selland Arena has enjoyed 56 sellouts in the last four years, making it one of the best home-court advantages on the West Coast. The university has broken ground for an on-campus events center, the Save Mart Center, a 16,500-seat showcase home for Bulldog basketball, which will open in 2003.

Shark Bites

  • Tops on the NCAA active win percentage list at .803, which is the third-best all-time.

  • Ranks second among active coaches in career victories and eighth all-time with 759 victories.

  • Became the eighth coach to reach the 750-victory mark at the major college level, defeating UTEP 108-56 on Jan. 25, 2001.

  • Has led Fresno State to six consecutive 20-win seasons and postseason appearances, the first time that feat has been accomplished in Bulldog basketball history.

  • Tutored 42 players who were drafted by the NBA, including 12 first-round selections.

  • One of only a handful of coaches to lead three different schools to 20-win seasons. At each school, Tark recorded a 20-win season in his first year.

  • Led UNLV to the NCAA title in April 1990 (the Rebels defeated Duke 103-73 in posting the largest winning margin in NCAA championship game history).

  • Tarkanian has averaged 25.3 wins per season during his 30-year major college coaching career.

  • Led UNLV to Top 10 finishes in wire-service polls nine times (1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992).

  • Won the 2001 Don Haskins Award for WAC Coach of the Year. He won or shared Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors seven times in 10 seasons. Also was named West Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1975.

  • Won 20-games or more for 17 consecutive season and 29 of 30 seasons as a Division I coach.

  • His 973 career collegiate coaching victories are the most ever counting all divisions.

    2000-01 Bulldog Bites

  • Fresno State won the 2001 WAC championship, it's first-ever WAC title and first conference championship in basketball since 1982.

  • Fresno State's 24 wins were the most-ever in the regular season.

  • The Bulldogs have won 20 or more games in each of the last six seasons and qualified for the postseason in each of the last six seasons.

  • The Bulldogs' had a 13-game winning streak, matching the longest in school history. Their average margin of victory in their 13-game winning streak was 18.0 points per game.

  • Fresno State won the 2000 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic, defeating North Carolina State 82-63 on Nov. 22 in Springfield, Mass.

  • Fresno State finished 12th in the nation in scoring offense at 81.5 points per game.

  • The 2000 Trend Homes Classic, won by Fresno State, featured three teams that were in the 2000 NCAA tournament: Fresno State (24-10), Louisiana Lafayette (25-8) and Samford (21-11). Toledo (18-10) completed one of the finest four-team tournament fields in the nation.

  • Tito Maddox finished fourth in the nation in assists, 8.0 per game, the highest per game average in school history.

  • Fresno State hosted the inaugural Hispanic College Fund Tournament Nov. 17, 19. The Bulldogs lost in the championship game to St. Bonaventure 87-74, their last home loss. Chris Jefferies and Melvin Ely were selected to the HCF Classic All-Tournament team.

  • The Bulldogs played 18 regular season home games this season, most in school history.

  • Fresno State owns a current 14-game conference home court winning streak, the 10th longest streak in the nation.

  • Fresno State ranked last in the WAC in rebound margin (39.3-37.5).

  • Fresno State broke the single season blocked shots record with 209. In 1997-98, the Bulldogs had 185 blocked shots. Melvin Ely had more blocked shots (90) than Fresno State's opponents (58).

  • Fresno State had 198 more assists than its opponents (592-394).

  • The Bulldogs forced 18.8 turnovers per game.

  • Fresno State had the 11th best winning percentage in the nation at .788 (26-7).

  • Fresno State's 93-79 win at Tulsa was the worst loss ever for the Golden Hurricane in the Reynolds Center and worst home loss since Jan. 4, 1991.

  • Fresno State led the WAC in average attendance with 9,618 fans per game.

  • Demetrius Porter was voted national player of the week by Jan. 16.

  • Jerry Tarkanian got his 950th win as a college coach vs. Santa Clara (Dec. 13). That includes junior college and Division I wins.

  • Fresno State's 108-56 win over UTEP set a WAC record for scoring margin and was the second largest in school history. It was also UTEP's worst defeat ever.

    Bulldogs Tipoff Regular Season in Preseason NIT
    Coming off one of the best seasons in school history, the Fresno State men's basketball team was selected to participate in the 2001 Preseason National Invitation Tournament. The Bulldogs will host Montana State University of the Big Sky Conference on Tuesday, defeating the Bobcats 92-70 at Selland Arena. Fresno State's only other appearance in the Preseason NIT was in 1995. The Preseason NIT, heading into its 17th year, takes place at regional sites throughout the country. Seven of the 16 teams in the tournament advanced to the NCAA tournament last season, including Final Four participant Michigan State, which eliminated Fresno State from the NCAA Tournament. Other 2001 NCAA Tournament teams include: Syracuse, Arkansas, Wake Forest, USC and Oklahoma.The first round games were played Nov. 12-13 with the second round games scheduled for Nov. 14-16. The semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 21 at New York's Madison Square Garden with the championship and consolation games set for Nov. 23.

    2001 Preseason NIT First Round Results
    Nov. 12
    Arkansas 68, Maine 47
    Wake Forest 79, UNC Wilmington 78
    Syracuse 78, Manhattan 58
    DePaul 70, Fordham 61
    Oklahoma 66, Central Connecticut 44
    Michigan State 80, Detroit 70

    Nov. 13
    USC 68, Wyoming 54
    Fresno State 92, Montana State 70

    2001 Preseason NIT Second Round Results/Pairings
    Nov. 14
    Syracuse 74, DePaul 60
    Michigan State 67, Oklahoma 55

    Nov. 15
    Fresno State 65, USC 58

    Nov. 16
    Wake Forest 76, Arkansas 71

    2001 Preseason NIT Notes

  • Syracuse will play Michigan State in the other semifinal game. Those two teams easily won their second round home games.
  • Homes teams have won every game thus far in the tournament.
  • Fresno State's 92 points and 22-point margin of victory vs. Montana State are the best in the tournament so far. FS has scored a tournament high 157 points in the tournament.
  • No team in the tournament has scored more than 81 points except the Bulldogs.
  • Fresno State and Wake Forest's only other meeting was at Madison Square Garden in 1983, an 86-62 Bulldog win in the NIT semifinals.
  • Fresno State had a crowd of 7,110 for the first round game against Montana State. The 'Dogs are expecting a sellout of 10,220 for tonight's games against USC.

    2001 Preseason NIT Semifinal Opponent
    Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0 )
    Head Coach: Skip Prosser
    Record at School (years): 3-0 (1)
    Series: Fresno State leads 1-0
    Notes: Wake Forest advanced to the Preseason NIT semifinals with wins over UNC-Wilmington 79-78 and Arkansas 76-71 ... Darius Songaila leads the Demon Deacons in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game. He scored a career-high 27 points in an 87-67 win over Elon College on Nov. 18. He ranks just behind Billy Packer for 20th on the Demon Deacon's career scoring with with more than 1,300 points ... Skip Prosser is in his first season at Wake Forest, taking over for Dave Odom who left for South Carolina after last season. Prosser spent seven seasons at Xavier and ranks 18th among active coaches in winning percentage ... Wake Forest is the only team of the final four to win a road game to advance to Madison Square Garden.

    'Dogs In Preseason NIT
    Fresno State's only other appearance in the Preseason NIT was in 1995-96, Jerry Tarkanian's first year at the school. The Bulldogs lost the opening game to Weber State 102-86 at Selland Arena. Weber State was a member of the Big Sky Conference, the same conference as this year's first round opponent, Montana State. The Bulldogs are now 2-1 in the Preseason NIT.

    'Dogs In Preseason Polls
    Fresno State has been ranked among the nation's top 25 in nearly every preseason poll. Here's where the Bulldogs rank:

    Slam Magazine-----------------------10
    Lindy's College Basketball----------20
    ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll---------21
    Dick Vitale's College Basketball----23
    Associated Press Poll---------------23
    The Sporting News-------------------25
    The Basketball News-----------------25
    Bulldogs Rated
    Three Fresno State players have been ranked among the nation's top 25 at their position. Here's a breakdown:

    Melvin Ely, Sr., Center
    The Sporting News - 4th 9th

    Chris Jefferies, Jr., Small Forward
    The Sporting News - 15th - 15th

    Hiram Fuller, Jr., Power Forward - 21st

    Bulldogs Picked to Win WAC For Second Straight Season
    Fresno State was picked to win the WAC for the second straight year by both the WAC head coaches and media. Bulldog center Melvin Ely, the reigning WAC Player of the Year, was selected the WAC's preseason player of the year. Fresno State, the defending regular season champions, received nine first place votes and 81 points in the coaches poll. The Bulldogs pulled in 11 of 13 first place votes in the media poll and 114 points to easily outdistance Hawai'i. Defending tournament champion Hawai'i was second in both polls. The coaches and media selected an identical first-team all-WAC squad. Fresno State senior center Melvin Ely heads the list of first-teamers and is joined by his teammate junior forward Chris Jefferies, a first-team selection as a sophomore.

     1. Fresno State (9)     81
     2. Hawai'i (1)          66
     3. Tulsa                63
     4. UTEP                 62
     5. SMU                  47
     6. Louisiana Tech       40
     7. San Jose State       30
     8. Nevada               22
     9. Rice                 21
    10. Boise State          18

    2001-02 PRESEASON MEDIA POLL 1. Fresno State (11) 114 2. Hawai'i (98) 98 3. Tulsa (1) 96 4. UTEP 79 5. SMU 60 6. Louisiana Tech 53 7. San Jose State 37 8. Boise State 31 9. Rice 16 10. Nevada 14

    Preseason All-WAC First Team

  • Melvin Ely, Sr., C, Fresno State
  • Predrag Savovic, Sr., G/F, Hawai'i
  • Chris Jefferies, Jr., F, Fresno State
  • Damon Hancock, Sr., G, SMU
  • Kevin Johnson, Jr., F, Tulsa

    WAC Preseason Player of the Year: Melvin Ely, Fresno State

  • Home Sweet Home
    Fresno State loves Selland Arena, where it has won 18 consecutive games. Fresno State is 44-5 (.898) in WAC home games under Jerry Tarkanian. The Bulldogs have won 14 consecutive games against WAC teams at Selland Arena and 17 of the last 18.

    In Case You Missed It
    Fresno State finished with a 17-1 record at home and had an average margin of victory of 18.6 points ... the Bulldogs finished with a 16-game home winning streak ... Fresno State's 24 regular season wins and 13 WAC wins each equaled the most in school history. The Bulldogs won 24 regular season games win 1981-82 and 13 WAC games in 1995-96 ... Fresno State was 21-1 in games when leading at the half and did not lose (13-0) when getting more rebounds than an opponent ... only three of Fresno State's 33 games last season were decided by less than six points. Fresno State was 2-1 in those three games ... Fresno State won its first two exhibition games by a combined 52 points ... the Montana State game was Jerry Tarkanian's 200th career game at Fresno State.

    90 is Nice
    Fresno State was 7-0 last season when scoring 90 points or more and have won 17 consecutive games when scoring 90 points or more. The Bulldogs have won 39 of the last 40 games when scoring 90 points or more and are 45-3 under Jerry Tarkanian when scoring 90 or more points. Two of those three losses were overtime games.

    Seasons to Remember
    Fresno State's 2000-01 26-7 record is the fourth-best in school history. Here are the best seasons in Fresno State history by wins and winning percentage:

    Winning Percentage            Most Victories
    .900 (27-3), 1981-82          27, 1981-82
    .862 (25-4), 1980-81          26, 2000-01
    .808 (21-5), 1963-64
    .788 (26-7), 2000-01
    Winning Streaks
    The Bulldogs own the nation's 10th longest home winning streak at 18 games. Utah has the nation's longest home court winning streak at 44 games.

    WAC Leaders
    Several Fresno State players led the WAC in various categories last season. Here's a look at the WAC leading Bulldogs.

    Free Throw % in WAC Games: Demetrius Porter (.860, 43-50)
    Assists in WAC Games: Tito Maddox (8.12)
    Blocked Shots (Overall, WAC Games): Melvin Ely (2.86, 3.00)
    Field Goal % in WAC Games: Melvin Ely (.627, 131-193)
    Assist-Turnover Ratio (Overall, WAC Games): Demetrius Porter (2.32, 2.58)

    Nationally Ranked 'Dogs
    Here's where Fresno State players ranked in the final 2001 NCAA statistics:

    Assists: Tito Maddox (8.0), 4th
    Field Goal Percentage: Melvin Ely (.583, 208-387), 15th
    Blocked Shots: Melvin Ely (2.7), 17th
    Team Scoring: Fresno State (81.1), 12th
    Winning Percentage: Fresno State (.788), 11th
    Scoring Margin: Fresno State (10.5), 18th

    2001 WAC Honors
    The Bulldogs dominated the Western Athletic Conference men's basketball postseason awards as selected by the league's nine head coaches . The first team was led by Fresno State junior Melvin Ely who was also voted the WAC's Player of the Year. In conference games only, Ely averaged 18.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and led the WAC in field goal percentage (.627). UTEP senior forward Brandon Wolfram was a first-team selection for the second straight year. Rice's Mike Wilks, Fresno State's Chris Jefferies and Hawai'i's Predrag Savovic were also first team selections. Fresno State guard Tito Maddox was named the WAC's Freshman of the Year. Maddox averaged 13.7 points 8.1 assists and 1.9 steals in conference only games. Fresno State head coach Jerry Tarkanian was named the Don Haskins Coach of the Year after leading the 25th-ranked Bulldogs to a 26-7 record and Fresno State's first ever WAC regular-season title (13-3).

    Player of the Year: Melvin Ely, Fresno State
    Freshman of the Year: Tito Maddox, Fresno State
    Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Jerry Tarkanian, Fresno State

    Ely's Charts
    Senior center Melvin Ely has been one of the premier players in the nation over the two seasons. Ely jumped past a former NBA player and a current NBA player on the WAC career field goal percentage list, surpassing New Mexico's Luc Longley and former Wyoming standout Reginald Slater for seventh on the all-time list.

    Early Season Action
    The Bulldogs are playing in a "preseason" style event for the fifth time in Jerry Tarkanian's seven seasons. Here's how the Bulldogs have fared in previous early season events:

    Year     Event (record)                  Note
    1995-96  Preseason NIT (0-1)             Lost in first round to Weber State
    1998-99  Great Alaska Shootout (1-2)     Lost to No. 1 Duke in the semifinals
    1999-00  Hawai'i Pacific Classic (2-1)   Lost to LSU in the championship game
    2000-01  HCF Classic (1-1)               Lost to St. Bonaventure in the
                                             championship game
    2000-01  Hall of Fame Classic (1-0)      Defeated North Carolina State
    2001-02  Preseason NIT (2-0)             Defeated No. 20 USC in the second round



  •  Email this article   Printer-friendly format