Fresno State will be without senior forward Karachi Edo on Saturday, not the best way to go into a Mountain West Conference matchup at Colorado State against a physical team not shy about bruising bodies as they get after it on the glass.
Since Edo made his season debut Dec. 20 at Oregon he has averaged 6.9 rebounds, the most on the team in those 13 games by more than a full rebound.
But coach Rodney Terry held to the same refrain that he did a year ago when the Bulldogs, through illness and injury, took some personnel hits while stringing together a nine-game winning streak and again Wednesday when Edo went down with a right ankle injury in the third of four overtimes in a loss at Wyoming.
Fresno State has won the past three games in the series against Colorado State, but has not won at Moby Arena since 1994. Since joining the Mountain West for 2012-13, the Bulldogs have lost three games there by an average of 16.3 points.
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“It’s next man up,” Terry said before the Bulldogs headed off to practice at Moby Arena in Fort Collins. “The next guy gets an opportunity to play.”
Terry and his staff have were working through who that next guy will be against the Rams, but there are a number of ways they can go.
Fresno State (14-10, 6-6) had started the same lineup for six games, but went small at Wyoming. Paul Watson moved to the four from the three and three guards started in Deshon Taylor, Jahmel Taylor and Jaron Hopkins.
Bryson Williams, the freshman from Roosevelt High, played minutes at the four with Terrell Carter at the five in a Dec. 31 victory over Nevada and had one of his most productive games. In 17 minutes, Williams scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, including six at the offensive end, and had one steal and one assist.
You go with the group that gives you the best chance in terms of starting the game a certain way and trying to have a mentality.
Fresno State coach Rodney Terry
The Bulldogs also could go back to the lineup they started through that six-game stretch with Sam Bittner at the four, Watson at three and Williams at five. That group went 4-2 with wins over Boise State and at Nevada, both of which were first-place teams in the conference at tipoff.
Terry remains committed to keeping 6-foot-11 freshman Lazaro Rojas in a redshirt season. “I think it’s really going to make him a good, young player moving forward.”
Cullen Russo, suspended indefinitely before a Feb. 1victory over Air Force, is not on the trip. “We’ve obviously put out what we’re doing with him,” Terry said. “He was an indefinite situation and we’ll deal with it when we need to deal with it. We have already. It’ll be something as we get back (to Fresno) we’ll continue to work through.”
If Edo is out for an extended time, the Bulldogs could reshuffle the deck again with games next week at Save Mart Center against San Jose State and New Mexico.
70 Jerry Wainwright, the Bulldogs’ lead assistant, is celebrating his birthday Saturday.
The immediate concern is the Rams. Colorado State (16-9, 8-4) has won two in a row and 5 of 6, and has one of the hottest players in the conference in Gian Clavell. Clavell during the past five games is averaging 23.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.6 steals.
“Early in the year when Karachi wasn’t playing, Bryson stepped up and played big minutes for us and Terrell obviously has an opportunity to step up and play significant minutes,” Terry said. “Nate Grimes has an opportunity to be able to do some things. Guys will get opportunities. Fortunately for us, we have a little bit of depth at that position.
“You go with the group that gives you the best chance in terms of starting the game a certain way and trying to have a mentality. Maybe the matchup dictates that. We’re playing a team that’s real physical on the glass. They rebound the basketball. We know they can shoot the basketball, but they really rebound the ball well.
“It just depends on the matchup and what you need to try to do to especially give yourself a chance to start the game the right way. But throughout the course of the game there are going to be different lineups that you’re going to have to use. We’ll figure it out.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE AT COLORADO STATE
- Saturday: 1 p.m. at Moby Arena (8,745) in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Records: Bulldogs 14-10, 6-6 MW; Rams 16-9, 8-4
- Webcast/radio: ESPN3/KFIG (AM 940)
- Notable: The Rams get an extra day to prep after dropping Utah State 69-52 on Tuesday for their fifth win in six games. Gian Clavell hit six shots from the 3-point line in scoring 24 for Colorado State. Fresno State beat the Rams 78-57 on Jan. 18 at Save Mart Center, with Deshon Taylor scoring 19 points.