Malik Story and Deonte Burton were the difference in Nevada’s win over Fresno State Saturday. The pair combined for 46 points and shot a combined 27 free throw attempts. Story broke out of a three game shooting slump to make 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Story and Burton would be the only two players in double figures for Nevada.
“Their guards just outplayed our guards. If you take the two guards out of the equation we pretty much did what we needed to do on the other guys… That’s a real good frontline of guys and when they make shots their hard to beat.”
Fresno State held Nevada to 38% shooting from the field, but the Wolf Pack would get to the free throw line 37 times in comparison to Fresno State’s 21 free throw attempts. Nevada made 30 of their 37 attempts.
“I think that speaks for itself,” said head coach Rodney Terry. “Anytime that we got our defense set it was pretty hard for those guys… Anytime you put a good scorer on the line it gains confidence for those guys and kind of got those guys going early in the game.”
Fresno State’s three-point shooting gave the Bulldogs control for much of the first half. After failing to connect on a single three-point attempt in Wednesday’s win against Wyoming, Fresno State made five of their first nine threes and finished 9-of-21.
The Bulldogs had made just 11 three-pointers combined in their three previous conference games.
“I like what we did offensively,” Terry said. “I don’t think the offense beat us tonight. I think our defense wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Fresno State’s offense stalled in crunch time, however. Nevada took advantage, breaking a 54-54 tie by scoring seven unanswered points in a stretch of over three minutes leading into the final 60 seconds.
Tyler Johnson led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Kevin Foster added 15 points and seven rebounds.
“We had a chance tonight at home to put ourselves in great shape in the Mountain West Conference.”
The Bulldogs fall to 1-3 in conference play after playing three of the first four games at home. Fresno State next plays at Boise State on Wednesday at 6 pm PST.
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