Fresno State had a double-digit lead turn into a double-digit deficit in about eight minutes, just before and just after halftime on Saturday at Colorado State. After recovering to get into overtime the Bulldogs were able to finish the way they had started.
They made plays, just enough, to secure a wild 82-79 victory over the Rams in Fort Collins that got the Bulldogs a split of their first Mountain West Conference road trip that started with an overtime loss at Utah State.
Two of the biggest – a steal by Jahmel Taylor that led to a lay up by Jaron Hopkins and a two-possession lead with 2:21 to go and then a steal and score by Deshon Taylor with 22 seconds remaining that put the Bulldogs up by five.
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“We never make it easy, right?” coach Rodney Terry said.
Colorado State got it back to two twice in those final seconds, but Deshon Taylor hit two free throws with 13 seconds to go and the first of two with four seconds to go.
The miss left open a shot at the end for the Rams, but a shot from mid-court missed.
“We just kept fighting hard, just like Utah State kept fighting hard,” Deshon Taylor said. “We were honed in one our defense, trying to get as many stops as we kept getting stops and executing at the offensive end and it paid off for us at the end.”
The Bulldogs’ guard, who scored a game-high 22 points with five rebounds and three assists, was down on the ground in pain at the end with a back spasm.
“I reached and I felt it on my right side and I couldn’t move so I just fell to the ground,” he said.
But Fresno State (12-5, 2-2 in the MW), which plays Boise State on Tuesday at the Save Mart Center, had a badly-needed win coming off an 81-79 overtime loss at Utah State on Wednesday in which the Bulldogs had blown a 10-point lead with four minutes to go.
Down 59-49 with 9:09 remaining in regulation, the Bulldogs held Colorado State (8-9, 1-3) without a field goal for the next five minutes. The Rams, who at one point in the second half were 19 of 36 shooting the basketball (52.8 percent), missed six shots in a row and nine of 10 as Fresno State worked its way back into the game at the defensive end.
“I thought we learned a valuable lesson a couple of nights ago where we did not play until the horn went off,” Terry said. “You have to play league play until the horn and I though we did that tonight.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
BOISE STATE AT FRESNO STATE
- Tuesday: 8 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- TV/radio: ESPNU/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Records: Bulldogs 12-5, 2-2 Mountain West; Broncos 13-2, 3-0
- Of note: The Broncos played at Wyoming on Saturday night, but had breezed through their first three conference games beating Colorado State 93-71, winning at UNLV 83-74 and beating New Mexico 90-62. Boise State was third in the Mountain West in scoring offense and leading the conference in scoring defense. Chandler Hutchison is leading the Broncos in scoring with 17.4 points per game.