FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno State men’s basketball team has had a tough time getting wins against a quality early-season schedule, but its coach is seeing some positives as the Bulldogs get ready to host CSUN on Wednesday night.
The game against the Matadors from Northridge will be the Bulldogs’ first home game in three weeks.
Both the Matadors and the Bulldogs have a 2-5 record, but Fresno State is probably better than its record indicates, considering it played six games in a row (UCSB, San Francisco, North Texas, Washington, Vanderbilt, UC Irvine) against teams that were all ranked in the top 125 of the highly-respected KenPom rankings.
There are 363 teams total in Division I.
The Bulldogs lost the first five of those games by an average of only 7.2 points, and all of those games were closely contested battles deep into the second half.
Fresno State’s defense kept it in those games, but the Bulldogs struggled to find enough offensive consistency to get over the hump.
That was not a problem in their most recent game, however, as they shot 62.5% in the first half and 53.3% for the game, in an 80-66 win at UC Irvine on Saturday.
The Bulldogs were also missing senior point guard Isaiah Hill (concussion) for the games against Washington and Vanderbilt over Thanksgiving at the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim.
“This team is getting better,” said Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson on Tuesday night. “To play two Power-5’s to a close game without Isaiah Hill was no shame. Now, it was no prize, either. We don’t have any moral victories, we wanted to win those games at the Wooden Legacy. But we weren’t overmatched without our point guard, so we’ve been continuing to get better since Santa Barbara.”
In the win over the Anteaters, the Bulldogs got another impressive performance from senior graduate transfer Isaih Moore (Southern Miss), as Moore finished with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
He has been a bright spot for the Bulldogs this season, as Fresno State tries to replace the scoring and rebounding that all-conference big man Orlando Robinson provided one year ago.
Moore has three double-doubles in his first seven games, and he is leading the Bulldogs in scoring (14.0 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg) and blocked shots (1.1 bpg).
Tip-off on Wednesday against CSUN is at 7pm. Tickets for Wednesday’s game start at $10, and tickets are free for Fresno State faculty and staff (Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night).
Tickets to home basketball games are always free for Fresno State students, and one student guest.