BOISE, Idaho (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno State men’s basketball team earned its biggest win of the year on Tuesday night, overcoming a late nine-point deficit to win at Boise State, 67-64.
The Bulldogs (11-10, 9-10 MW) trailed 63-54 after a Derrick Alston free throw with 5:01 left to play, but they closed the game on a 13-1 run, punctuated by an Isaiah Hill three-pointer that broke a 64-64 tie with 1:10 left.
The Broncos (18-7, 14-6 MW) had a couple of chances to tie the game after that basket, but Alston missed a three-pointer with 47 seconds left and then Emmanuel Akot was off the mark with his three-pointer as time expired.
“Happy for them (the Fresno State players), happy for them. You know, when you have ten new guys and you go through this COVID stuff, you’re traveling and games are canceled, and you’re coming back,” said Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson. “You know, we coach really hard. We coach ’em really hard. You know, we stay out there, we work on ’em, we’re positive, but we coach ’em with tough love, and it was nice to see them get some rewards for their hard work and be able to come through down the stretch, and even make a comeback.”
The Bulldogs were led by Deon Stroud (San Joaquin Memorial), who finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Anthony Holland scored 12 points and Hill added eight points with a team-high ten rebounds from the point guard position.
Orlando Robinson, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, had eleven points on only 3-of-14 shooting.
Akot led the Broncos with 18 points. Alston, Boise State’s leading scorer, was held to only 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Fresno State led by as many as 12 points in the first half, and led by six points at halftime (35-29), behind 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc. That included three made three-pointers from Holland in the first 20 minutes.
“We’re playing our best basketball, and this is the perfect time to be playing our best basketball,” said Hill. “So we’re gonna get back in the lab, go back and then play Utah State Saturday. We just gonna try to keep this momentum, stay positive, and try to make something happen this March.”
The Bulldogs, who nearly swept UNLV on the road last week, have the seventh-best winning percentage in the conference, with one regular season Mountain West game left to play (Saturday, 8pm vs Utah State).
The Broncos have the fourth-best winning percentage in the league, and the loss to the Bulldogs did some damage to their hopes of possibly receiving an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament (if they don’t end up with the automatic bid by winning the upcoming Mountain West Tournament).
The loss for Boise State was also its first home loss this season (11-1).
This game was a makeup game that was originally scheduled for Friday, January 22nd in Boise. It was postponed because of COVID issues within the Broncos’ program that turned out to be a false positive.