Fresno State is down a key piece in Karachi Edo and breaking in some new ones, including guards Jaron Hopkins and Deshon Taylor. Coach Rodney Terry on Monday against Prairie View A&M and against Texas-San Antonio before that has been able to take a look at just about all of them, working different combinations.
A stunning 84-78 loss to the Panthers at the Save Mart Center doesn’t figure to be all that instructive. The Bulldogs, in fact, came out of the game with more questions than they had going into it.
There was more Nate Grimes and less Terrell Carter II. With Hopkins in foul trouble, Taylor played more minutes at the point. But nothing was all that effective, the Bulldogs in deep the whole way and then down at the end against a team that had lost its opener at Oregon State by 20 (78-58) while hitting only 32.8 percent of its shots and getting outrebounded 48-33.
The Panthers were 7-24 last season, with a RPI ranking of 334 ... of 351 teams.
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Fresno State (1-1) hit 46.8 percent of its shots against Prairie View A&M, outrebounded the Panthers by a 43-29 margin. But the Bulldogs also committed 18 turnovers that led to 22 of the Panthers’ points – only once under Terry had the Bulldogs had more in a game, that the very first one. Fresno State had 19 turnovers in its 2011 opener, a victory over Illinois State.
Up 41-36 at the half, Fresno State hit only 13 of 35 shots (37.1 percent) in the second half.
The Bulldogs also struggled to defend. Prairie View hit 46.3 percent of its shots but won the game at the free-throw line. The Panthers shot 31 free throws, hitting 26 – four more than Fresno State attempted in the game.
Stat of the game – The Panthers had a 37-14 advantage in bench scoring. Fresno State had six players log 64 minutes off the bench, led by Grimes, who had eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.
Quote of the game – From Terry: “We knew we were going to have to come in (Monday) and really try to out-effort this team, because they were going to come in and play with a lot of effort – they weren’t going to be intimidated coming in. They had already played at Oregon State and they weren’t going to come in and be intimidated. They were going to come in and play at a high level, and we didn’t match that tonight. We’re not a tough team right now. We’re going to have to build some toughness and some grit. We’re don’t have enough of that right now.”
Notable – Guard Deshon Taylor, who was not expected to play due to a knee injury suffered in the opener against Texas-San Antonio, ended up playing 24 minutes and was singled out by Terry as the only player who brought the requisite energy and intensity to the game. Taylor scored three points, had three rebounds, four assists and three steals.
More on this later – The Bulldogs lost Marvelle Harris, Cezar Guerrero and Julien Lewis off their NCAA Tournament team. They badly need their seniors to fill that leadership void.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada