Marvelle Harris for 3. Julien Lewis for the jumper. Cezar Guerrero from the foul line.
Fresno State beat Boise State 70-64 before 2,500 kiss-blowing fans at the Save Mart Center. Ready to fall back in love with the men’s basketball team all over again?
Like most relationships, it’s complicated.
The Bulldogs looked huggable as can be Saturday. They won after trailing at halftime for the first time all season. They improved to 9-2 when playing in their own living room. Frankly, Fresno State made everyone wonder how the Broncos had won eight straight games in the first place before Saturday.
But, at day’s end, the Bulldogs are still just a 12-13 team, which is another way of saying we haven’t the first clue when it comes to knowing what to make of them. All we know is they were 12-13 at this time last year, so we’ve already established that 50-50 basketball doesn’t sell bucket seats in these parts.
Just who are these Bulldogs, because we’d love to know.
Did they overachieve in notable victories over the 18-win Broncos, and against 25th-ranked San Diego State last month? Or is this who the Bulldogs really are, and they were just underachieving the rest of the time?
They’ve got just six regular-season games left to win over fair-weather Fresno State fans (I know, is there any other kind these days?). All Saturday’s game served to do was leave us all the more confused.
This is a team that just scored 40 points in Saturday’s first half — second-best all season — and yet surrendered a season-worst 42 points, all at the same time.
Fresno State is good enough to go up by 12 in the first half, yet duplicitous enough to be losing by the break.
The Bulldogs don’t lose enough to be lovable losers, and they don’t win nearly enough to straight-up win us over. Fresno State fans have endured far too much mediocrity the past decade to jump into a steady relationship after a successful blind date. Yet, most are also looking for a reason to start shopping for shower curtains with the Bulldogs at the local Bath and Body Works.
The losing record is really a shame, because these Bulldogs just might be that team worth falling for.
Harris is turning into that superstar player that Fresno State fans won’t realize is a superstar until he’s showing off in the NBA. Did you hear the crowd’s heart flutter when his winding, driving, falling-down layup gave Fresno State a 63-61 with 1:30 left in the game?
You should have seen Harris’ furious facial tick when he fed a midcourt steal to Karachi Edo for a rim-rattling slam. You should have heard the noise when he waved his arms madly at the crowd to celebrate a foregone conclusion with 6 seconds left to kill.
These Bulldogs leap after rebounds, even if they sometimes land out of bounds. They play ferocious defense, even if that does nothing to stop the other team’s best guy from dropping 31 points on them.
They want things to get serious with you again. The only way for that to happen is to win a lot more games than they lose, because wins — not $100 bills and iPads — are what’s going to win fans over again.