Fresno State got an announced crowd of 14,777 into the game early on Saturday night. Point Guard Cezar Guerrero had two of his nine assists in the opening minutes on alley-oop passes - one to Tyler Johnson and one to Karachi Edo. Cal State Northridge played even with the Bulldogs for most of the first half, however.
Fresno State led by two points coming out of the final media timeout of the first half. Cal State Northridge looked to tie the game, but freshman forward Paul Watson stole the ball with a wide open layup ahead of him. The play sparked a 14-2 run over the last four minutes of the half, giving the Bulldogs a 41-27 lead at halftime.
“That’s where we really got separation,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. “I thought for that four minute stretch we played harder and we saw the result of that going into the half.”
Matador guard Josh Greene scored the first five points to open the second half and cut the lead to 9 points, but Watson sparked another run - this time with a three pointer. Fresno State outscored CSUN 14-4 over the next 4 minutes, pushing the lead to 20 points. The Bulldogs never let up as the Matadors could not get within 15 points through the end of regulation.
Watson sparked the two key runs, but he was just one of six players in double figures on Saturday night. Guard Tyler Johnson led the way with 18 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth career double-double. Two other Bulldogs were just shy of double-doubles. Guerrero finished with 10 points, 9 assists and Marvelle Harris had 12 points, 9 rebounds.
The Bulldogs only made 5-of-21 three point attempts on the night, but they still shot 55% overall from the field. Fresno State controlled the interior, scoring 44 points in the paint and outrebounding CSUN 36-24.
Fresno State next hosts Cal Poly on Wednesday Nov 20. Tip-off is at 7:00pm PT.