Fresno State spent time on the practice floor Friday working on what it had lacked in a home victory Thursday over The Master’s College, a 12-point game at the end and much too close against an NAIA opponent most of the way.
Attention to detail. Focus. Energy. Shooter defense. All no doubt were part of that practice plan as well after The Master’s Reid Shackelford, a 6-foot junior guard, knocked down a Save Mart Center record 11 shots from beyond the three-point line in scoring 35 points.
The team the Bulldogs (6-1) will see Saturday, Cal Poly, is averaging 24 three-point shots per game and has four players hitting better than 40 percent in Jaylen Shead (45.5), Joel Awich (44.4), Reese Morgan (44.1) and Taylor Sutlive (43.8), though the availability of Shead will be a game-time decision after the freshman guard rolled an ankle this week in practice.
We didn’t have the focus and attention to detail that you have to have (Thursday) night. For whatever reason, we didn’t have that.
Fresno State coach Rodney Terry on difficulties vs. The Master’s, particularly defending the three-point line
Fresno State had a difficult time sticking to Shackelford, with the exception of a four-minute stretch midway through the second half when Lionel Ellison did a good job keeping the basketball out of his hands, and it will have a few more live shooters to contend with against the Mustangs.
“We tried to make an adjustment – once he gave the ball up, he wasn’t going to get the ball back again,” coach Fresno State Rodney Terry said Friday. “But we didn’t have the focus and attention to detail that you have to have (Thursday) night. For whatever reason, we didn’t have that.”
The Bulldogs had done well limiting three-point shooters in their first six games – opponents hit 31.8 percent, tied with Boise State for the third lowest in the Mountain West Conference. They did lack that focus in an exhibition victory over Dominican, allowing 11 makes in 26 attempts. But Terry didn’t leave the Bulldogs any convenient excuse as they play teams they are expected to handle with ease.
“We try to treat every opponent with a lot of respect and understand that every game is an NCAA Tournament game,” he said. “He (Shackelford) came out and he made shots, and we didn’t do a great job defending.”
.379 Cal Poly’s three-point shooting percentage, including senior Joel Awich’s 12 of 27 (. 444)
Fresno State, which plays at No. 19 Arizona on Wednesday, will have to defend well at Cal Poly’s Mott Athletics Center to take any momentum into that matchup.
“They can shoot the basketball,” Terry said. “We’re going to have to have really good shooter defense and attention to detail with who we’re guarding and understand how important personnel is. I think we’ll do a good job of guarding their actions, and then it comes down to sitting down and one-on-one defense, and we have to do a good job defending the perimeter.
“We know guys can shoot the basketball. We can’t give open looks. We have to take airspace away. We’ve been working on that. We’re going to get better with that as the season goes along. We’re seven games in. It’s not going to be perfect right now. If it were perfect, we’d have nowhere to go. This team has a lot of room to grow, defensively and offensively. We have a lot of work to do. It’s early on in the season and we’re trying to really get our guys to buy in and understand how important all that is.”
Marvelle’s minutes – Marvelle Harris led the Bulldogs with 21 points against The Master’s, and with the score close much of the way, he ended up on the floor for 35 minutes.
No break there, against an NAIA team and with just one day between games against the Mustangs, first the ones from Santa Clarita and soon the ones from San Luis Obispo. Harris is averaging 34.4 minutes per game.
“He’s the one guy between substitutions that’s a glue guy for our team, that keeps everything in flow for us,” Terry said. “He can play multiple positions. He can handle the basketball. He can make good decisions with the basketball. Whoever you sub in, he can play with those guys.
“Now, if we can steal six or seven minutes where he’s sitting down, we’ll do that. Otherwise, he’s built and he’s in shape enough and savvy enough to play at that level. He has done that.”
Et cetera – Cal Poly is 4-3 and coming off a 75-73 home loss to Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. The Mustangs also lost at UNLV 74-72 and at UCLA 88-83. Their victories are less imposing – Cal State Monterey Bay, Austin Peay, Maryland-Baltimore County and University of Antelope Valley.
▪ With a victory, Fresno State would match its best start since 2006-07 when it opened 7-1. The Bulldogs have won 16 of the past 17 in the series with one loss (2012) since 1971.
▪ After outrebounding The Master’s 44-28, the Bulldogs are a plus-9.0 in rebounding margin. A year ago, Fresno State was minus-3.2 and ranked ninth of 11 in the Mountain West Conference.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Let’s play two
FRESNO STATE AT CAL POLY
- Saturday: Women’s game at 4 p.m., men’s at 7 p.m.
- Radio: Men on KFIG (AM 940)
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: FRESNO STATE AT CAL POLY
- Saturday: 4 p.m. at Mott Athletics Center
- Records: Bulldogs 3-4, Mustangs 4-3
- The matchup: Fresno State has first winning streak of season after beating Cal State Bakersfield 57-52 on Wednesday. Sophomore center Bego Faz Davalos (13.4 ppg, .507 shooting, 11.1 rebounds per game) and top reserve Moriah Faulk (11.4 ppg, .412, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 assists) lead the way. ... Cal Poly won at Pepperdine 61-47 on Wednesday. Junior forward Hannah Gilbert had her fourth double double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and the defense limited the Waves to 8-for-30 shooting before the break and 15 for 55 overall. Mustangs are 3-0 when holding opponent under 60 points. Senior guard Lisa Marie Sanchez (Centennial-Bakersfield) is 16 of 35 on three-pointers.