Fresno State shows little of anything, including effort, in absorbing 23-point loss at Wyoming
Fresno State was on the floor at Wyoming for 40 minutes, but try as it might, and that appeared to be an on and mostly off thing, it couldn’t make the final 20 matter much.
The Bulldogs were done in by an abysmal first half at both ends of the floor in an 85-62 loss to the Cowboys at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo., their third loss in a row and sixth in the past seven games. They were down 23 at the break, and by 25 when giving up a layup and 3-point play on the opening possession of the second half.
The Bulldogs got to within 14, but the end result was a 23-point loss to a team that was in last place in the Mountain West and a team they had beaten at the Save Mart Center in their conference opener.
“We didn’t come ready to play,” coach Justin Hutson said on his post-game radio show. “We had guys running around talking about they’ve got headaches and they’re not feeling good. We have to come ready to play. That’s just the bottom line. Yeah, they hit some tough shots early and we settled down in the second half and played an even, regular game. But the guys have got to come out ready to play and they’re coming in and looking sluggish.
“Altitude? I’ve been in this altitude 17 times. It’s definitely a factor, but there’s no way it was a factor the way it was for us tonight. Two guys had to come out immediately. One can’t go back in. One, I’m not sure he can go back in. I’ve been here 17 times. You have to come ready to play.”
The Bulldogs did not, and it was just ugly.
Fresno State (7-14, 3-7 in the MW) was out-rebounded by a 45-22 margin and the Cowboys had 13 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second-chance points. It allowed Wyoming (7-14, 2-7) to hit 18 of its first 31 shots (58.1%) including 10 of 16 from the 3-point line (62.5%).
The Bulldogs at the offensive end lacked everything. They hit 37% of their shots in the first half and 37.9% in the game, the third game in a row they have failed to hit even 40% of their shots. Fresno State was 344th of 352 in the nation in 3-point shooting at 28.5% and that went down with the Bulldogs hitting just 7 of 25 threes, 28%.
Frustration showed late, with an altercation breaking out with 1:41 remaining when center Eduardo Andre got into the Cowboys’ Jeremiah Oden when getting a tie-up and held ball and players from both teams ended up getting called for technical fouls. But given the first 38 minutes, it didn’t merit much other than an exasperated roll of the eyes.
“Show it the right way, or show it the first half … those are the things we’re teaching and that’s who we have,” Hutson said. “But show it in the first half when they got all those offensive rebounds.”
The 22 rebounds was not a season-low for Fresno State. It has had 22 or fewer rebounds seven times in its 21 games with a low of 20 in a Dec. 10 loss at Pacific. The minus-23 rebounding differential was the worst of the season, surpassing a minus-17 (39-22) in a Jan. 28 loss to Utah State.
Point guard Isaiah Hill led the Bulldogs with 11 points and seven assists. Hill has had seven assists in two of the past three games and is averaging 5.1 over his past eight games.
Fresno State put up 25 shots from the 3-point line and is averaging 24.3 over the past three games. Why, is the question. Of the eight teams ranked lower than the Bulldogs in 3-point field goal percentage, only two went into Tuesday with more attempts per game than they had. Ironically, their season-high is 31 threes against Bakersfield and Wyoming in back-to-back games in December and they managed to win both.
NEXT FOR FRESNO STATE
Friday at UNLV, 8 p.m., FS1