FRESNO, Calif. --- The Fresno State men's basketball team defeated UC Santa Cruz 96-65 early Friday evening at the Save Mart Center to open its season with a win.
Fresno State junior guard Deshon Taylor had a team-best 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting (75.0 percent), six assists (no turnovers), three rebounds and three steals in just 26 minutes.
Fresno State (1-0) has now won its last 17 home openers and the Bulldogs will next host CSUN on Monday at 7 p.m. PT.
How it happened: Fresno State came out firing on all cylinders, especially behind the 3-point arc as the Bulldogs made their first seven 3-pointers they attempted. The 'Dogs quickly built a 14-point lead behind a 20-5 run that propelled Fresno State up 22-8 midway through the first half.
In the first half alone, Fresno State converted 59.4 percent of its field goal attempts (19-for-32) and a fiery 70 percent clip (7-for-10) from beyond the 3-point arc. The Bulldogs finished shooting 52.9 percent from the field for the game and 50.0 percent on their 3-point assault.
After leading 52-25 at halftime and by as many as 45 in the second half, Fresno State cruised to its 70th season-opening win in program history.
A total of six Bulldogs scored at least 12 points, including a team-high 16 points from Deshon Taylor and arguably the best offensive night of Sam Bittner's career (14 points and 5-for-6 FG, including a perfect 4-for-4 clip from beyond the 3-point arc).
Fresno State outscored UC Santa Cruz 44-22 in the paint and turned 23 UCSC turnovers into 36 points. The Bulldogs also had 23 assists on their 36 made field goals, and a combined 12 steals as a team.
Meanwhile, the Fresno State women's basketball team got its 2017-18 campaign started on Friday night against Eastern Washington in front of the Red Wave at Save Mart Center. The 'Dogs cruised to an 81-56 win over the Eagles on the shoulders of a career-high 21 points from Kristina Cavey and a stingy defense which held EWU to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Fresno State came out strong in the first as the Bulldogs held Eastern Washington to just 15 points in the quarter. Most of the offense for the 'Dogs came from Kristina Cavey as the sophomore poured in nine points on a flawless 4-of-4 from the field. Fresno State led 17-15 after one.
While Fresno State scored the ball effectively in the second period as well, defense was the story. The Bulldogs held the Eagles to just under 27 percent shooting from the field and at one point kept Eastern Washington from scoring for about four minutes. The 'Dogs also forced four turnovers in the final four minutes of the half. Offensively, Cavey had already tied her career-high of 13 points as Fresno State led 41-25 over the Eagles at halftime.
The Bulldogs' offense caught up to its defense in the third quarter. Fresno State shot 11-of-16 from the field and tallied assists on nine of those baskets. The defense continued its stellar play as Eastern Washington was held to just 3-of-14 from the field including 0-of-6 from behind the arc. The 'Dogs held a 66-40 advantage after three periods.
Eastern Washington outscored Fresno State 16-15 in the fourth thanks in large part to an 11-0 run late in the period. But the Eagles' run was not enough to challenge the Bulldogs as they took home an 81-56 victory in their season opener.
Fresno State Media Relations