Fresno State needed this one, at home against Nevada, a team that, like itself, is in its second season in the Mountain West.
The Bulldogs didn't get it.
They didn't get themselves out of an offensive funk quickly enough, one that started when they were up double digits in the second half; didn't get nearly enough defense at any point; and didn't get the win.
Fresno State went down 96-86 in double overtime Wednesday night at the Save Mart Center after giving up a lead at the end of regulation and at the end of the first overtime with way too easy baskets.
"Transition defense," coach Rodney Terry said. "We've just got to get back and understand that, hey, there's another possession and we have to finish it out."
At the end of regulation, the Bulldogs had a chance to win after freshman Paul Watson knocked down a 3-pointer that made it 76-74 with 14 seconds to go. But they let Deonte Burton drive right to the basket, tying the score with a layup with 8 seconds remaining and then failed to get much of a shot from Cezar Guerrero.
They had a big chance in the first overtime as well, after Allen Huddleston hit 1 of 2 free throws to put them up 82-80 with 10 seconds left. The Bulldogs were able to keep the ball out of Burton's hands, but Cole Huff got right to the rim, with his layup tying it.
"Obviously you have one of the best guards in the country with the ball in his hands," Terry said of Burton, who came in leading the conference in scoring.
"Our whole game plan the whole time was to have four eyes on him ... and even that last play there where Huff drove to get to the second overtime, we did a great job of corralling (Burton), we just didn't do a great job with the rotation back to Huff.
"We did a good job on one play, we didn't do a good job on the other one."
Those two plays stand out, but don't stand alone.
Fresno State gave up baskets at the rim in bunches, the Wolf Pack scoring 42 points in the paint. That has been a soft spot in the Bulldogs' defense all season, and Nevada fully exploited it.
The Wolf Pack hit 16 of 29 shots in the second half, coming from 10 points down.
Burton hit 14 of 20, finishing with 32 points. Huff hit 11 of 19 and had 31 points.
The Bulldogs had six players in double figures, and Tyler Johnson and Marvelle Harris had double-doubles with 20 points and 11 rebounds and 18 and 10.
But they missed opportunities to put the game away at the offensive end -- Watson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 inside of 2 minutes in the first overtime and Huddleston missed the first of those two free throws in that same extra session -- and gave themselves little chance at the defensive end.
And when they got into the second overtime, the Wolf Pack just raced away.
Huff hit a 3-pointer with 3:52 to go and the Bulldogs couldn't answer.
"It's tough," Terry said. "We put a lot of work and a lot of labor into what we do and guys are not having anything to show for it. I can't go in there and fault our guys' effort -- I think the effort was there. But now, it's about finishing. It's about trying to get a good taste in our mouths in terms of being on the right side of the column as opposed to the other side.
"It's just finishing and getting a little taste of it, and I think once this young group experiences some of that and experiences that on a regular basis we're going to be better for it and we'll be able to compete in this league the way we want to."
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