For the longest time, the Fresno State Bulldogs fumbled around at the offensive end. Up against a zone for the first time this season, they played tentatively, missed some open looks when they did find one. For a stretch of almost 11 minutes in the first half, they made just one basket, for almost 15 minutes the made only two.
But late in the first half, Jahmel Taylor put some decisiveness into the equation, knocking down four 3-pointers in a row to kick start the offense and help build enough of a lead to hang on for a 63-58 victory over Oregon State on Saturday at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
Fresno State (3-2) hit seven of its first 12 shots in the second half after making only 34.6 percent, building a lead that hit 15 points in snapping a nine-game losing streak against teams from the Pac-12 including a loss to Utah last season in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.
When Taylor knocked down his first shot in the second half, another three, he had a career-high in scoring as well as 20 of the Bulldogs’ first 30 points. He finished with 21points and four assists. This season, he has hit 16 of 28 shots from the 3-point line, 57.1 percent.
The Bulldogs attacked Oregon State’s zone much more efficiently at the start of the second half but hit a lull and the Beavers (2-4) were able to capitalize behind Tres Tinkle, who scored 31 points and had 10 rebounds.
Oregon State cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just three points with 28 seconds remaining, but Paul Watson hit a pair of free throws and the Beavers missed three shots from the 3-point line in the final 12 seconds.
Stat of the game – Jaron Hopkins scored on a drive to the basket with 4:23 remaining in the first half and from there to the 10-minute-mark in the second half, the Bulldogs hit 13 of 19 shots (68.4 percent) including six 3-pointers.
Quotable – Taylor: “I was just waiting for my opportunities. That was the biggest thing for me. I knocked down my first one and I missed my next three. I just stayed ready and tried to find open seams in the gaps and things like that, and then I just stayed ready and knocked them down. After the second one, I felt very confident.”
Notable – Fresno State has struggled to end possessions, giving up 18 offensive rebounds in a loss at Cal State Bakersfield last out and 23 in an opening victory over Texas-San Antonio. Oregon State had only five offensive rebounds and three second-chance points.
Coming up – The Bulldogs’ play at the point guard position is a work in progress – Hopkins played a season-low 26 minutes and in the past two games has committed 10 turnovers. His plus/minus against the Beavers was a minus-9.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE VS. MENLO COLLEGE
- Wednesday: 5 p.m. at Save Mart Center (9,604)
- Records: Bulldogs 2-2, Oaks 5-3
- Radio: KFIG (AM 940)/KGST (AM 1600)