Colorado’s Spencer Dinwittie sank a long distance three-pointer with 2:17 remaining to give Colorado a seven-point lead. Dinwittie’s three would be the dagger to put away another Fresno State comeback attempt, as the Bulldogs could not overcome the 20-point first-half deficit.
“We went toe to toe till the end there,” said Fresno State Head Coach Rodney Terry. “We’ve got to get to a point to where we’re able to win tough games on the road and execute things we’re working on.”
It was not until the 7:12 mark that the Bulldogs made a serious threat to take over the game, as Kevin Olekaibe’s three-pointer cut the lead to 55-52. But just as the Bulldogs several previous furious comeback attempts, they failed again to get over the hump and take the lead. Over the next five minutes, the ‘Dogs missed four shots that would have made it a one possession game or tied it.
“It’s been like that the whole year,” said Olekaibe. “When we’re down 15 at halftime we know we’re still in the game. We played poor the first half… We just can’t do that. That’s been the story all year.”
Fresno State started slow in the high altitudes in Boulder. A free throw by Carlon Brown broke a 2-2 tie, and the Buffaloes would hold that lead for the rest of the game. Colorado would go on to outscore the Bulldogs 36-to-16 into the final minutes of the half, giving the Buffaloes a 20-point lead. Fresno State cut the lead to 15 at half, thanks to a buzzer-beating three pointer by Kevin Olekaibe. It took just over five minutes into the second half for Fresno State to cut the lead back to single digits.
“We talked about getting off to a fast start,” said Terry. “It’s been our goal over the last couple games. We wanted to do a better job starting games. You start games with a fast start with execution, and we weren’t able to do that on the offensive end and we dug ourselves in a whole.”
Just as familiar as the comeback was to the ‘Dogs, they faced another familiar struggle in foul trouble. Forward Kevin Foster picked up his fourth foul in the first half, and Jonathan Wills’ early foul trouble left Jerry Brown as the lone post player. Foster and Wills would both later foul out in the second half.
The question remains if the Bulldogs can put together a complete game on the road. In the ‘Dogs three single-digit losses away from the Save Mart Center, they faced at least a 14-point deficit in each game. Even in Fresno State’s win versus SMU, it took 12 unanswered points in the final minutes to take the lead.
“I’m getting tired of it,” continued Olekaibe. “We just got to do something different. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen next game.”
Olekaibe led the Bulldogs with 26 points, shooting 5-of-14 from beyond the arc and 8-of-24 from the field. Tyler Johnson was the only other Bulldog in double figures, scoring 11 points to go with six rebounds and three steals. Fresno State did not get much help from Kevin Foster due to foul trouble, limiting him to just 15 minutes, scoring five points.
The Bulldogs continue their Pac-12 road trip at Oregon on Saturday. Six of the next eight games will be played on the road.
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