Fresno State Basketball

Fresno State, in first road game, taken down hard at Bakersfield

Fresno State forward Cullen Russo is fouled by Cal State Bakersfield’s Matt Smith during the first half at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. CSUB beat the Bulldogs 71-63.
Fresno State forward Cullen Russo is fouled by Cal State Bakersfield’s Matt Smith during the first half at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. CSUB beat the Bulldogs 71-63. The Bakersfield Californian

Fresno State at this early point in the season has had some rough stretches of basketball, most coming in a loss to Prairie View A&M.

But nothing last week was anything close to a seven-minute stretch in the second half of a 71-63 loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday, when the Roadrunners ran them right out of a sold-out Icardo Center.

The Bulldogs (2-2) at both ends of the floor were way short.

Bakersfield, which has three starters and six letter-winners returning from an NCAA Tournament team, already had a lead and a good handle on the Bulldogs when coach Rod Barnes called a timeout with 18:18 remaining – and that was the end of it.

The Roadrunners went on a 20-6 run, pushing their lead to as many as 22 points.

They hit 7 of 10 shots and outrebounded the Bulldogs 8-0 including three at the offensive end. They also had two steals and the Bulldogs, in their first road test, had no answer. Even when Bakersfield was in deep, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop them. Stuck with a sideline out-of-bounds play with just one second on the shot clock, the Roadrunners ran an alley-oop for a dunk by Jaylin Airington, who scored a game-high 28 points.

The Bulldogs, who play at Oregon State on Friday, recovered to a degree at the defensive end but didn’t get within 10 points until Bryson Williams scored in the lane with 13 seconds to go.

Fresno State hit just 39.6 percent of its shots (19 of 48) including 16.7 percent (2 of 12) at the 3-point line and was outrebounded 43-31, which included 18 offensive rebounds by the Roadrunners.

Stat of the game – Fresno State made just one field goal between 16:51 and 4:48 in the second half, a 3-pointer from Cullen Russo. The Bulldogs’ other five points in that stretch came from the free throw line.

Quotable – Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes on his timeout with 18:18 to go: “I didn’t like the way we came out in the second half. We kind of came out like the game was over. I didn’t see us with the same kind of defensive intensity and I really wanted to get after our guys at that point. To me, they (Fresno State) are a dangerous team and if they get going, it could be a long night for us. I told our guys, this is the breaking point. I kind of yelled at them a little bit, telling them this is the place, right here.”

Notable – The Bulldogs had won their past four true road games, tied with Wright State for the second-longest streak in the nation. Kansas led with five in a row.

Quotable – Fresno State coach Rodney Terry: “We didn’t handle their pressure initially very well. We turned the ball over too much and didn’t make the kind of decisions with the ball that we had been making over the past two games. We turned the ball over, and this team here feeds off points off turnovers.”

Off the boards – Bakersfield had 18 offensive rebounds, the second time in four games a Fresno State opponent has had more than 15. Texas-San Antonio had 23 in the season opener. Last season, the Bulldogs gave up more than 15 offensive rebounds just once – UNLV had 18 when losing at the Save Mart Center in double overtime.

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada

Up next

FRESNO STATE VS. OREGON STATE

  • Friday: 6 p.m. at Gill Coliseum (9,604)
  • Records: Bulldogs 2-2, Beavers 2-3
  • TV/Radio: Pac-12/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
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