Fatigue wasn’t a consideration for Fresno State heading to Colorado State after playing and losing in four overtimes at altitude at Wyoming. The Bulldogs stuck to schedule between games – film, practice and all that as usual. But that 60 minutes might have caught up to them in the final 20 against the Rams.
Shots were short. The feet didn’t move as deftly or as quickly at the defensive end. They had trouble taking care of the basketball, making some uncharacteristic errors. And after hanging in through the first half, the Bulldogs just couldn’t keep up with Colorado State in a 78-62 loss Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
After hitting 55 percent of its shots in the first half, Fresno State hit just 10 of 29 in the second, 34.5 percent, while turning the ball over nine times.
From the 1:03 mark in the first half to the 12:38 mark in the second, Fresno State hit just 1 of 10 shots. The Bulldogs had hit 61.1 percent of their shots to that point, 11 of 18.
“I don’t know about fatigue, but I know this: We have a couple of guys that we have to try to get back mended together a little bit,” coach Rodney Terry said.
“We’ve had a couple of guys under the weather. Paul (Watson) has been sick. Bryson Williams has been sick. We have to get those guys mended back up to full strength. They tried, but we just have to get back and get mended.”
Along with Watson and Williams at less than 100 percent the Bulldogs were down forward Karachi Edo, who injured his right ankle in the loss at Wyoming, and were short bigs. Terrell Carter II played 25 minutes after averaging 10.8 in the first 12 conference games. With Edo out, on Thursday they had to fly in redshirt freshman forward Nate Grimes, who has not been traveling with the team. Grimes played 15 minutes, his first since getting 10 in a Dec. 14 blowout of Holy Names.
It is worth nothing, also, that the Rams had an extra day between games, beating Utah State on Tuesday while the Bulldogs (14-11, 6-7 in the MW) were going at it for an extra four five-minute overtime periods at Wyoming on Wednesday.
We played without Karachi the first part of the year, so I know our guys know we’re capable of playing without him.
Fresno State coach Rodney Terry
It was the third Saturday in a row the Bulldogs played a team coming in with an extra day between games.
“We just have to keep plugging,” Terry said. “I thought we let our offense to start the second half dictate how hard we competed on the defensive end of the floor, and you can’t do that on the road. You have to continue to compete and continue to get some stops like we did in the first half there.”
The Bulldogs just didn’t appear to have much juice. Coming out of halftime, trailing 31-29, Fresno State hit one of its first eight shots including three at the rim. It had another stretch in which it missed seven consecutive shots.
Fatigue? Watson, 75.9 percent at the free-throw line, hit nothing but the floor on a foul shot in that second half. He then missed the second, as well. Jahmel Taylor, who along with Deshon Taylor played 55 minutes at Wyoming, was 1 of 6 overall and 1 of 5 beyond the 3-point line, where he had hit 46.1 percent of his shots.
The Rams (17-9, 9-4) just worked their way clear, taking advantage of turnovers. Fresno State committed 19, leading to 22 points the wrong way. Colorado State was up 14 by the time the Bulldogs hit their second field goal of the second half, a 3-pointer by Deshon Taylor at the 12:15 mark.
Colorado State in the second half hit 12 of 24 shots including 5 of 10 at the 3-point line and had an assist on all but one of its baskets.
Fresno State has three days to get as healthy as it can before hosting San Jose State at SaveMart Center, though Edo could be out for an extended period.
The Bulldogs made it through the fall semester without the senior forward, who is leading the Bulldogs with 6.8 rebounds per game. But they also had Cullen Russo, in body if not always mind and spirit, while Edo was on the sidelines after not meeting NCAA continuing-eligibility standards.
Russo has missed the past four games after he was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules.
“We have to get home and get it going,” Terry said. “We played without Karachi the first part of the year, so I know our guys know we’re capable of playing without him. We played 13 games at the start of the year without him. We’ll find a way and we’ll just keep plugging and keep working and find a groove here.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE VS. SAN JOSE STATE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 14-11, 6-7 Mountain West; Spartans 12-10, 5-6
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themwc.com)/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Notable: Of the Bulldogs’ setbacks in Mountain West play, a 69-62 loss at San Jose State on Jan. 7 has to be the most irksome. Fresno State led by 15 with 3:50 to go in the first half and had a chance to push it to 17 or 18. It then played one of its worst halves of the season, hitting 37.9 percent of its shots with 12 turnovers. The Bulldogs scored 25 points over the final 20 minutes. Gary Williams Jr. led the Spartans with 18 and Brandon Clarke added 15 and affected the Bulldogs’ offense with five blocks and altered several other drives into the paint. That is the game Fresno State made only 21 of 41 shots at the rim, either layups or dunks.