For the Fresno State men’s basketball team, the numbers that matter are two and a zero. Two games into the season, they are 2-0 with an opening win over Pepperdine and the latest, an 80-72 victory over Lamar on Monday.
Because of that, the numbers 39.7 and 35.7, while rather unsightly as shooting percentages go, are less bothersome to coach Rodney Terry than they would be if those other two numbers were reversed.
“We’ll get better with that,” Terry said. “Early in the year, that’s just concentration and finishing, seeing shots all the way through. We’ll get better as the year goes along with that and as guys get a chance to continue to work on their shots and shoot those jump shots.
“We had a lot of easy bunnies that we missed that we normally would make. We’ll be better.”
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After hitting 39.7 percent of their shots in an opening victory over Pepperdine, the Bulldogs made 25 of 70 against the Cardinals including 2 of 11 beyond the 3-point line.
In their first two games, they are 4 of 28 from long range.
“We’re a better shooting team than we’re showing right now,” Terry said. “We have to put a little more time into what we’re doing. I think our guys are working on it. We’ll make shots.
“I’m not worried about that. I’m never worried about our offense. I think we have enough weapons and opportunities for guys to score. I’m more concerned about building our defense and getting stops, because we’ll figure out a way to score.”
Another plus: last season the Bulldogs were 3-10 when failing to hit at least 40 percent of their shots.
Monday recap – Fresno State weathered a poor-shooting second half, using its size, its defense and a significant edge at the free-throw line in moving to 2-0, the first time the Bulldogs have started with two wins since 2009-10.
Forward Torren Jones led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games in a Fresno State uniform. Cullen Russo had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Marvelle Harris added 19 points and Karachi Edo 10.
Jones, who debuted with 13 points and 14 rebounds in the victory over Pepperdine, hit 6 of his first 7 shots Monday night, taking advantage of his size against the Lamar bigs. He is the first Fresno State player with a double-double in back-to-back games since March 2011, when Greg Smith had 16 points and 16 rebounds in a victory over Hawaii in the final game of the regular season and 14 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Nevada at the WAC Tournament.
“It feels good. I’m scoring, so I’m doing something right,” Jones said. “They weren’t the prettiest makes, but they got me in my flow and I got some points on the board.”
Fresno State made more free throws in the game than Lamar attempted, going 28 of 41 from the line while the Cardinals were 16 of 27.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada