"It was a big shot," said Fresno State Head Coach Rodney Terry.
90 seconds into the overtime, Fresno State had their third player disqualified due to fouls. Terry turned to walk-on Brad Ely over reserve Grant Hefeng to fill the open spot. Ely grabbed two offensive rebounds, but missed two free throws that could have taken the lead.
"Brad's a little more physical player," said Terry. "We needed a guy that could come in and match that energy… [Ely] did a good job."
With Fresno State trailing by three points in the final minute, Kevin Olekaibe missed a three-point shot to tie, and Ely's rebound turned to another missed opportunity when Wills missed the second-chance shot to tie. San Jose State took advantage of the Bulldogs' lack of depth and made five straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal their first conference win of the season.
"It was tough," said Terry. "We came up a little short in terms of some stops we needed to have."
"We put them at the free throw line a little too much there, especially the latter part of the game."
San Jose State controlled the game early, leading by as many as 10 points. Fresno State used a 14-to-0 run that spanned over six minutes to take a 53-47 lead with five minutes remaining – their first lead in nearly 29 minutes. The Bulldogs held the lead until the final minute of regulation, but needed a lay-up by Jonathan Wills and a defensive stop in the final 30 seconds to force overtime.
Olekaibe led Fresno State with 21 points. Jerry Brown added a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Wills and Garrett Johnson each finished in double figures as well. Tyler Johnson, Kevin Foster, and Brown all fouled out.
Fresno State falls to 11-15, and 3-7 in WAC play. The Bulldogs will have to regroup for a long trip to Hawaii on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. PST.
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