SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Fresno State men’s basketball team hung tough with Utah on Tuesday night, but a late scoring drought was costly in a 55-50 loss to the Utes.
The Bulldogs (9-3) led by as many as six points in the first half and carried a 23-22 lead into halftime. They still had a 45-43 lead with 5:46 left in the game after Anthony Holland hit a three-pointer. But the Bulldogs did not score over the next 5:05 of game time, which allowed the Utes (8-4) to go on a 10-0 run and get their eighth win of the season.
Fresno State junior forward Orlando Robinson scored a game-high 17 points with nine rebounds, while Isaiah Hill and Anthony Holland each had nine points and Deon Stroud added seven points, a career-best 10 rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs.
Marco Anthony led the Utes with 11 points, and Lahat Thioune scored 10.
Going up against the defensive-minded Bulldogs, who were tied for eighth nationally in scoring defense (56.0 PPG) as of Dec. 19, the Utes shot just 30.8 percent shooting in the first half. But they were much better in the second half, where they made 48 percent of their field goal attempts, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Fresno State was only 19 for 57 (33.3%) for the game and 7-of-31 from three-point land.
The Bulldogs were missing one of their key players, Jemarl Baker, who did not make the trip to Salt Lake City because of a knee injury suffered on Friday against Cal Poly. Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson said on the radio pregame show Baker could be out for a little while. Baker, a former top 100 recruit who transferred to Fresno State from Arizona, had scored 30 points combined in the Bulldogs last two wins over UC Irvine and Cal Poly.
Fresno State will stay in Utah for their next game, as the Bulldogs will visit Weber State in Ogden on Thursday at 3 p.m. PT. After that, they will open conference play next Tuesday at Boise State, and then return to the Save Mart Center for their conference home opener against Air Force on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. PT.