The Fresno State Bulldogs came out Saturday executing at a high level. The Bulldogs were shooting just under 50 percent and were all over the Rams defensively, but Colorado State continued to get tough 3-pointers to fall and had 8 second chance points early. Fresno State had just a 26-25 lead and were looking for their high level of play to start paying off on the scoreboard.
Fresno State sparked a run by forcing four consecutive Colorado State turnovers and turning them into 9 unanswered points. The Rams entered Saturday’s game ranked fourth nationally in least turnovers per game, but the Bulldogs forced 11 first half turnovers and scored 17 points off of them in the first half alone to build a 13 point halftime lead.
“We knew it was going to be a very physical game,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. “We had to set the tone in terms of that we were going to come out and be physical and really guard hard tonight.”
Tyler Johnson missed the last eight minutes of the first half due to foul trouble and was limited to just one first half point. He made a 3-pointer on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half to cap off a 15-0 run. It was just the beginning of his 17-point second half.
“I’ve played long enough to understand that your first half can’t dictate your second half,” Johnson said. “Just stay aggressive.”
Fresno State held a double digit lead until the final stretch after the Bulldogs went scoreless for over five minutes. The Rams closed within six points in the last minute, but five consecutive free throws iced the game for the Bulldogs.
Johnson was one of five Bulldogs in double figures as the team shot 51% from the field collectively. Fresno State finished with 9 steals and scored 20 points off of turnovers.
The Bulldogs’ fifth straight win puts them at 6-7 in conference play and at 13-13 overall on the season. Fresno State looks to win their sixth straight game on Tuesday at Wyoming at 6:05pm PT.
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