Fresno State Basketball

Bulldogs get Long Beach State, looking to win fifth in a row and find best fits

Bulldogs crush Weber State, 71-52

The Fresno State Bulldogs beat Weber State 71-52 on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 at the Save Mart Center, their fourth win in a row. The Bulldogs (6-2) allowed Weber State to hit only 33.3 percent of its shots, 20 percent from the 3-point line.
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The Fresno State Bulldogs beat Weber State 71-52 on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 at the Save Mart Center, their fourth win in a row. The Bulldogs (6-2) allowed Weber State to hit only 33.3 percent of its shots, 20 percent from the 3-point line.

Fresno State got quality minutes from Noah Blackwell, from Nate Grimes.

But if there is one thing that coach Justin Hutson is looking for now, with three non-conference men’s basketball games remaining before the start of Mountain West Conference play, it’s consistency and in a 71-52 victory over Weber State it was there, and it wasn’t.

Deshon Taylor, a first-team all-conference selection last season, is a known commodity. Sam Bittner and Braxton Huggins, they are getting there. Blackwell took a step in that direction in Wednesday’s victory over Weber State, and should have some extra incentive to build on that last game on Saturday afternoon against Long Beach State at the Save Mart Center.

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Fresno State guard DeShon Taylor is averaging 18.0 points and 5.0 assists through the Bulldogs’ first eight games this season. Fresno State takes on Long Beach State on Saturday, Dec, 8, 2018 at the Save Mart Center. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

The junior guard played his first two seasons of college basketball for the 49ers before transferring to Fresno State.

Grimes, too, can fill up a stat sheet.

But Hutson still is working the pieces, trying to get more consistent play one through eight or nine, and the Bulldogs could get a test from Long Beach State.

The 49ers are only 3-7 and to this point have hit only 39.9 percent of their shots in scoring 71.4 points per game, but six of those losses have come at UCLA, at Arizona State, at Mississippi State, at USC, at San Diego and to Oregon State.

“D.T., he’s getting more and more consistent with what we’re asking him to do, but we’re asking the other guys to be more consistent and the only ones that have stepped up so far have been Sam and Braxton,” Hutson said. “Everywhere else has been inconsistent. What we’re looking for is consistency from everybody.

Northwestern Fresno St Basketball
Fresno State forward Nate Grimes is averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs, playing only 22.4 minutes per game. Kyusung Gong ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Sometimes you feel like you’re so close. Then you see the breakdowns that everybody sees – they’re obvious, whether it’s turnovers in one game, whether it’s offensive rebounds by the other team in another game, whether it’s a defense lapse, whether its a few bad shots in a row. We’re fighting for it.”

Guard New Williams got off to a strong start, hitting 12 of his first 22 shots in averaging 15.0 points per game in a season-opening victory over Alaska-Anchorage, a loss at TCU and a win over Northwestern in the Wooden Legacy.

But his production declined, and Blackwell started ahead of Williams in the victory over Weber State. In the first half of that game, when the Bulldogs were working through a rough start at the offensive end, Williams played only six minutes.

He was on and off the court very quickly, and ended up playing a season-low 12 minutes.

Hutson had a quick hook with freshman Aguir Agau, as well.

Agau was in at 11:51 and out at 9:29. He was back in at 5:32, and back out at 3:39.

Forward Christian Gray had played 10 or more minutes in the Bulldogs’ first five games, but in the past three has been on the floor for a total of six minutes, just two in the victory over Weber State. Lazaro Rojas over the past three games has scored 25 of the 33 points and has 16 of the 39 rebounds the Bulldogs have had off the bench.

“For you to get separation in a game, that’s going to take a certain level of consistency on both ends of he floor and it’s something that we’re struggling to get and we’re fighting for,” said Hutson, 6-2 at the start of his Fresno State career.

“We’re going to keep practicing for it, pushing for it and watching film, but we don’t have it yet.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
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