If losing Paul George within the first few minutes of the game wasn’t bad enough, Fresno State played arguably its worst game of the season in Thursday night’s drubbing.
After cutting the Aggies’ 14-point halftime lead to 37-31 on a Brandon Sperling 3-pointer eight minutes into the second half, the Bulldogs crumbled. USU would amass a 27-point lead in the next four minutes en route to a rather easy 26-point win.
In spite of not having George, Fresno State’s woes were attributed to poor bench production, poor shooting, poor passing and an awful lot of missed opportunities on the offensive end.
“Well, you all watched the game, we weren’t very good. We certainly weren’t very good offensively,” said Fresno State head coach Steve Cleveland. “We actually, when we cut it to six, defensively, for the 30 minutes, we did quite well. The issue was we couldn’t score.
“Certainly, Paul going down early has an impact in a game like this.”
Early in the first half, with Bulldogs trailing 10-5, while he lay stretched on the court going for a loose ball, Utah State’s Tai Wesley dove directly into George’s right ankle.
“He dove right on it,” George said of Wesley. “Had it x-rayed and checked out. As of right now, it’s not broken just sprained. Right after I hurt it, I felt the pain immediately. I just remember the ref saying ‘can you get up’ but the pain was just too much.”
He remains optimistic of playing this Saturday having Friday to get treatment but the likelihood of him playing against Nevada is minimal. Instead, the ‘Dogs will turn to Mychal Ladd for instant points as well as Jerry Brown and Ned Golubovic to provide a solid effort on the defensive end.
But it’s almost impossible to replace George’s ability on both sides of the field.
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