Colorado State was short, down to eight eligible players Wednesday night at Fresno State. The Bulldogs and Paul Watson got that down to about 7 1/2.
Watson took Gian Clavell, the Rams’ leading scorer, almost completely out of the equation in a breezy 78-57 victory at Save Mart Center, sending the Bulldogs back on the road on a two-game winning streak.
Clavell, who came in averaging 17.1 points per game and 21.6 in conference play, hit 4 of 14 shots in scoring 10 points.
Watson, or Jaron Hopkins when the senior forward was getting a break, contested every shot except the first make, a 3-pointer early in the first half that came after Clavell scooped up a wayward rebound out of a scramble and fired away.
Fresno State has won 12 consecutive MW games at the Save Mart Center, but is 0-3 this season in road games with losses at New Mexico, San Jose State and Air Force. The Bulldogs play at conference-leading Nevada on Saturday.
His last two baskets came with 4:19 and 2:54 to play, the outcome no longer in doubt. And the Rams, who have three players academically ineligible for the spring semester and four sitting out under NCAA transfer rules, hit just 21 of 61 shots (34.4 percent).
Fresno State (12-7, 4-3 Mountain West) had no such issues, hitting a season-high 11 shots from beyond the 3-point line. Jahmel Taylor knocked down 5 of 9 and Deshon Taylor 4 of 8.
The Bulldogs, who have won 12 consecutive conference games on their home floor, got away by as many as 26 points (70-44) with 6:21 to go on a 3-pointer by Deshon Taylor.
Stat of the game – Karachi Edo and Jaron Hopkins, two of the three Bulldogs now coming off the bench, obviously are taking to their roles.
Edo had a plus/minus rating of plus-29 in 27 minutes, scoring five points with 10 rebounds, one assist and one steal. Hopkins had a plus/minus of plus-26 in 32 minutes, scoring 18 points with six rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Quotable – Fresno State guard Deshon Taylor, after hitting a career-high four shots from the three point line: "My teammates, they believe in me. They tell me to go out there and shoot the ball if I'm open. I go out there and play hard and shots come at the offensive end when you play good defense."
Taylor had made 13 threes all season, four over the past four games.
Notable – Cullen Russo, who has missed the past two games while working through an on-going academic issue, has been cleared to return to the team.
The 6-foot-9 senior will practice with the team on Friday before the Bulldogs board a bus for Reno and a game at Nevada, and could play against the Wolf Pack.
Edible – Clavell struggled to get the ball into the basket, but he did feed the 6,254 at the Save Mart Center. Fresno State runs a promotion with Chick-fil-A in the second half of its home basketball games. If an opposing player misses both foul shots on a trip to a free throw line, everyone in attendance gets a free sandwich.
Clavell, at the line with 18:36 to go, missed twice and wasn't close on either.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE VS. NEVADA
- Saturday: 3 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center (11,536) in Reno
- Records: Bulldogs 12-7, 4-3 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 16-3, 5-1
- TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940)
- Notable: Nevada won its fourth game in a row, beating Air Force on Wednesday 83-76 in Reno. Its last loss was at Save Mart Center on New Year’s Eve. D.J. Fenner scored 30 points in the victory over the Falcons and Marcus Marshall, the leading scorer in the conference, added 25.
FRESNO STATE 78, COLORADO STATE 57
COLORADO STATE (11-8): Omogbo 4-13 5-6 14, Carvacho 5-7 2-2 12, Nixon 5-12 2-2 13, Paige 1-9 0-0 2, Clavell 4-14 1-3 10, Koelliker 2-4 2-2 6, Sabino II 0-0 0-0 0, Bonner 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-61 12-15 57.
FRESNO STATE (12-7): Williams 3-3 0-0 6, Bittner 1-3 0-0 3, J.Taylor 5-11 0-1 15, D.Taylor 6-10 3-6 19, Watson 3-13 1-1 8, Edo 1-4 3-4 5, Carter 2-5 0-2 4, Hopkins 7-14 4-5 18. Totals 28-63 11-19 78.
Halftime — Fresno State 37-25. 3-Point Goals — Colorado State 3-21 (Omogbo 1-3, Clavell 1-4, Nixon 1-5, Koelliker 0-2, Paige 0-7), Fresno State 11-28 (J.Taylor 5-9, D.Taylor 4-8, Bittner 1-3, Watson 1-6, Edo 0-1, Hopkins 0-1). Fouled Out — Nixon. Rebounds — Colorado State 39 (Clavell 11), Fresno State 37 (Edo 10). Assists — Colorado State 5 (Paige 3), Fresno State 18 (Hopkins 7). Total Fouls — Colorado State 13, Fresno State 15. A — 6,254 (15,544).