Despite big night from Grimes, Bulldogs fall at Colorado State, 86-68

Bulldog Sports

Photo Courtesy: Samuel Marshall

Courtesy: Fresno State Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Fresno State men’s basketball team suffered an 86-68 road loss to the surging Colorado State Rams on Wednesday night at Moby Arena.

The loss was the sixth road loss at Colorado State in seven trips by Fresno State (6-13, 2-6 Mountain West) to Fort Collins since the Bulldogs joined the MW in 2012.

Colorado State (14-7, 5-3 MW) improved to 8-3 at home this season and the Rams extended their winning streak to five straight victories – all five against MW opponents.

Fresno State senior forward Nate Grimes tied a career-high with 23 points and added nine rebounds and two blocks for the Bulldogs, who will return home to face the Boise State Broncos on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT.

Colorado State freshmen David Roddy (26 points) and Isaiah Stevens (21 points) led the way for the Rams.

How it happened: For much of the first half, Fresno State and Colorado State were close with neither team leading by more than six points in the first 16 minutes of the contest, which included a 23-22 lead for the Bulldogs over the Rams with 8:48 to play before halftime.

CSU used a 13-4 run to take the lead for good – in a game the Rams maintained a lead in the final 28 minutes of the 40-minute contest.

After halftime, Fresno State got two defensive stops to open the second half before senior guard Noah Blackwell drained a 3-pointer to quickly cut the Bulldogs’ deficit to 10, but the Rams answered by continuing to attack inside with Robinson in foul trouble.

Fresno State cut its deficit to 55-49 to the Rams, with a floater by Mustafa Lawrence, a 3-pointer by New Williams and a cutting baseline lay-up by Blackwell on three straight offensive possessions.

The Rams then settled in with a 15-2 surge for a 70-51 lead over the Bulldogs with under 10 minutes left to play and never looked back.

Fresno State was outscored 46-26 by Colorado State in the paint, but the ‘Dogs also struggled to contain the Rams’ perimeter attack. CSU shot 54 percent from the field (34-for-63), including an efficient 50 percent clip from beyond the 3-point line (9-for-18).

Quotes:
Justin Hutson, Fresno State head coach
On the game…
“We played well in stretches, but it was nowhere near good enough. I thought the first 11 minutes I thought we were fine. We were guarding their stuff. We were getting back. We took pretty good shots and the next thing you know they went on their run. (Colorado State) showed to be very good tonight. They were much better than we were tonight.”

On the team’s mindset…
“We’re trying to become more consistent. I’m not getting frustrated. I know who we have. I know our strengths. I know our weaknesses. I know where we’ve been. I know some of the hard times we’ve had. I know some of the bad breaks we’ve had. But I also know who we have. We have some young guys that have to learn to grow up and be disciplined, but by no means was it their fault tonight. This is a team effort. It starts with me and goes right to the seniors and then it goes down to the underclassmen. It was a team loss. It’s about who is going to learn these lessons, who is going to get better from this, who is going to pay a little more attention in practice. Youth is sometimes wasted on the young, but not in basketball. You better learn from these experiences. You better come back and say, ‘OK, I understand now when coach is on me for not jumping’ and I jumped twice and got two fouls and now I have to sit on the bench and I hurt my team.”

Player Notes:
Nate Grimes – 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocksTied a career-high with 23 pointsMade a career-best four 3-pointers (single game)Scored at least 20 points for the sixth time in his career (fourth this season)Scored at least 10 points for the 33rd time in his career (tenth this season)Next up: Fresno State returns home from its two-game MW road trip for a home game against Boise State on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT at Save Mart Center.

“Fresno State Athletics: The Pride of the Valley” – The Bulldog Foundation creates championship experiences for Fresno State student-athletes as they strive for excellence in the classroom, in competition, and in life. To become a BDF member, please visit bulldogfoundation.org.

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