Fresno State

Fresno State men’s basketball: Marvelle Harris tops all-time scoring list in Bulldogs’ win

Fresno State guard Marvelle Harris shoots over the defense of Utah State guard Chris Smith in the teams’ Mountain West Conference game Saturday in Logan. Harris scored 34 points en route to setting the school scoring record in the Bulldogs’ regular season-closing 86-85 win. (/via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Fresno State guard Marvelle Harris shoots over the defense of Utah State guard Chris Smith in the teams’ Mountain West Conference game Saturday in Logan. Harris scored 34 points en route to setting the school scoring record in the Bulldogs’ regular season-closing 86-85 win. (/via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT HERALD JOURNAL/VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Fresno State got a little help from San Jose State on Saturday before even taking the floor at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, the Spartans knocking off Boise State to clinch the No. 2 seed for the Bulldogs at next week’s Mountain West Conference Tournament.

So they took the floor not needing a win against host Utah State for seeding and knowing it, but also aware a victory would be their eighth in nine games, their 22nd this season and no doubt be a boost to the ego.

Turned out to be a big one.

In a game that saw senior Marvelle Harris score 34 points to become Fresno State’s career scoring leader, the Bulldogs came back from an 18-point deficit to take out the Aggies 86-85, snatching their sixth victory in as many games this season that have been decided by three points or fewer.

“Right now, it means a lot. But to me, the win means more,” Harris said of the record, with the go-ahead point coming from the foul line with 51.8 seconds remaining. “It’s always an honor to be recognized for things that you’ve done, but I feel like that’s something you look back on when you’re older and things like that.

“I’m not going to be happy with it, I’m not going to feel content or say that, ‘I’ve done this.’ Nah, I’m going to keep fighting, keep playing basketball, keep trying to help my teammates and just do what we have to do to win.”

At Utah State, that was a considerable amount.

Fresno State (22-9, 13-5) had gone awry defensively midway through the first half, with the Aggies hitting 13 of their last 25 shots including six three-pointers in building a lead that hit 39-21 with 3:26 to go on a three by Darius Perkins.

The Bulldogs didn’t want to look up.

“When you look at the scoreboard you start to realize, ‘Oh, man, we’re down 18, we have a long way to go,’ ” Harris said. “We just took it possession by possession. We tried to get stops. We tried to get a shot up every possession.”

The Bulldogs got back to within 11 at halftime and were fortunate to be that close. But there was no panic in the locker room.

“(Coach Rodney Terry) came in and told us what we had to do,” Harris said. “He didn’t come in yelling, trying to rip guys’ heads off,. He came in and he told us what we needed to hear, ‘Hey, it doesn’t matter that Boise lost. It doesn’t matter if we’re in second place. That doesn’t mean that we’re content. This whole season we’ve been hungry, so stay hungry.’ 

Terry admitted it was a huge hole: “Yeah, 18, almost 20 at one point, that’s a totally different monster.

“But I give my team a lot of credit,” he said. “These guys they kept battling, they kept fighting, they stayed together. They regrouped, they hit the reset button and they did a great job of coming out and working those 20 minutes as hard as they can work it.”

Fresno State kept working its way back into the game and then into a lead. Julien Lewis knocked down a three-pointer with 5:51 remaining to put Fresno State up 71-68.

From there, the advantage changed hands twice and the score also was tied four times, the last ever so briefly when Harris hit the first of two free throws with 20 seconds to go.

When the second went down, the Bulldogs had a 1-point lead that they pushed to three before giving the Aggies shots at getting it back.

After Lewis hit a pair of free throws with 6 seconds remaining, they led 86-83. But the Aggies got a long pass to Jalen Moore in the right corner and Lewis fouled him shooting a three. The Aggies wing made the first two free throws, but after a Fresno State timeout, missed the third well short.

Harris got the rebound and was fouled, but with 3 seconds remaining missed both of his foul shots, leaving the Aggies one more last shot. Lewis picked off a pass to seal the win. Utah State fell to 15-14 overall and 7-11 in conference while earning the ninth seed.

To get into position to win, Harris was – no surprise – right there.

“Marvelle, I said it two weeks ago, I might be a little biased but I think he’s the best player in this league and I think he has played that way throughout the course of conference play,” Terry said.

The senior guard, who passed Melvin Ely at the top of the Bulldogs’ scoring list and how has 1,954 career points, hit 9 of 16 shots in the second half including 2 of 5 beyond three-point line in scoring 27 of his 34 points.

Lewis, Russo and Karachi Edo added 12 each for the Bulldogs, who will play seventh-seeded UNLV or No. 10 Air Force in a conference tournament quarterfinal at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

UNLV and Air Force will play at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the men’s opening round. The women’s tournament tips off Monday.

Up next

MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT: FRESNO STATE VS. UNLV OR AIR FORCE

  • Thursday: 6 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas
  • Records: Bulldogs 22-9, 13-5 Mountain West; Rebels 17-14, 8-10; Falcons 14-17, 5-13
  • TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940)
  • Of note: Seventh-seeded UNLV and No. 10 Air Force meet at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in one of three first-round games Wednesday. … Other games are No. 8 Wyoming vs. No. 9 Utah State at 11 a.m. and No. 6 Colorado State vs. No. 11 San Jose State at 4 p.m. … Regular-season champ San Diego State, as the top seed, gets the Wyoming-Utah State winner.

FRESNO STATE 86, UTAH STATE 85

FRESNO STATE

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

Edo

28

5-8

2-4

3-3

1

5

12

Russo

31

4-8

4-6

0-6

2

3

12

Lewis

35

4-11

3-4

0-4

3

3

12

Guerrero

27

2-6

1-2

0-3

2

1

5

Harris

39

12-23

8-11

0-6

5

2

34

Watson

3

0-1

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Taylor

17

3-3

0-0

1-2

1

0

9

Ellison III

4

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

1

0

Bittner

5

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Carter II

11

1-1

0-0

1-2

1

3

2

Totals

200

31-61

18-27

7-29

15

19

86

Percentages: FG .508, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 6-21, .286 (Taylor 3-3, Harris 2-8, Lewis 1-5, Watson 0-1, Russo 0-2, Guerrero 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 2 (Russo, Edo). Turnovers: 6 (Harris 4, Russo, Lewis). Steals: 11 (Harris 4, Lewis 3, Russo 2, Carter II, Guerrero). Technical Fouls: Guerrero, Russo.

UTAH STATE

Min

FGM-A

FTM-A

OR-TR

A

PF

PT

J Moore

38

7-14

5-6

2-6

4

0

22

G Moore

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Cureton

6

0-1

1-2

0-0

0

0

1

Perkins

25

3-6

0-0

0-1

0

3

7

Smith

33

5-13

6-8

0-5

3

4

18

Rector

15

1-2

0-0

0-2

3

2

2

Pearre

23

5-11

2-4

1-1

3

2

16

Evans

18

3-6

3-3

2-5

1

1

10

Taylor

21

1-2

1-2

1-4

2

5

3

Jones

20

2-4

2-2

6-9

1

2

6

Totals

200

27-59

20-27

13-37

17

19

85

Percentages: FG .458, FT .741. 3-Point Goals: 11-24, .458 (Pearre 4-7, J. Moore 3-6, Smith 2-6, Perkins 1-1, Evans 1-3, Cureton 0-1). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 1 (Perkins). Turnovers: 18 (Taylor 3, Rector 3, J. Moore 3, Evans 3, Perkins 3, Pearre, Jones). Steals: 3 (Jones 2, Pearre). Technical Fouls: Perkins.

Fresno State

31

55

86

Utah State

42

43

85

A — 9,870. Officials — Randy McCall, Jimmy Casas, Casey McClellan.

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