With a 71-60 victory Wednesday over Wyoming, the Fresno State Bulldogs got win No. 20 and clinched a first-round bye next month at the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
And, while there were a few hints they could win out after a bye this weekend and secure a No. 3 seed, they were hidden behind a wall of missed shots.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
The Bulldogs got 30 points from Braxton Huggins, and Nate Grimes had his 11th double-double this season with 15 points and 14 rebounds
Deshon Taylor had another solid game with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists
But as a team, Fresno State hit just 24 of 65 shots (36.9 percent), including 12 of 41 from the 3-point line.
The Bulldogs got just two points off the bench, three reserves going a combined 1 of 10. They had 15 offensive rebounds, but only nine second-chance points
They also had stretches of poor shooting, including 0 of 8, 0 of 6, 1 of 7 and 0 of 8. And there wasn’t overlap in any of those cold stretches.
“It wasn’t any of us individually,” coach Justin Hutson said. “It was us as a group. We need everybody to play good. If we’re going to go where we want to go, everybody has to step up and play good.
“It’s a long season, especially for some guys, and we talked about inexperience. You know, there are some guys that haven’t played this long, this many minutes, and come to practice and have that weight on their shoulders. Our seniors have done that before.
“So these couple of days off that we’ll have – this bye is great.”
The last time Fresno State (20-8, 11-5 in the MW) won when hitting 38 percent or less was almost a year to the day: Feb. 26, 2018 at Air Force, a 54-48 victory despite shooting 33.9 percent.