GAME NOTES: The Fresno State Bulldogs shoot for just their second true road win of the season tonight as they tangle with the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Moby Arena.
The Bulldogs, who have split their first 16 games of the season, captured their first conference win of the campaign on Wednesday night with a 71-65 triumph over Air Force at home. Fresno State had started off the MWC slate with consecutive defeats against the likes of UNLV and Boise State.
As for the Rams, they too currently stand at 1-2 in conference as they suffered setbacks versus San Diego State and New Mexico to begin the new calendar year before capturing a 66-64 victory over San Jose State on the road Wednesday.
The Rams lead the all-time series by a 13-8 margin, capturing a 67-61 win in the most recent meeting last March during the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas.
Tyler Johnson scored 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Fresno State Bulldogs captured the six-point win over the Air Force Falcons in MWC action at the Save Mart Center three nights ago. Also scoring in double figures for the Bulldogs, as they won for just the second time in the last seven outings, were Cezar Guerrero and Marvelle Harris with 18 and 13 points, respectively. Fresno State, which held a 24-17 scoring advantage at the charity stripe, was beaten on the glass, 35-29.
With a core of five players accounting for the bulk of the 75.2 ppg produced by the Bulldogs, any serious let-down by any one of them can cause the team to spin out of control. With that said, Harris continues to be a solid performer for the group with his 16.6 ppg, followed by Guerrero and Johnson with 14.5 and 14.0 ppg, respectively. Guerrero, who has knocked down more 3-pointers (34) than anyone else and is 86.2 percent accurate at the charity stripe, is also the leader in assists (69) and steals (26) at the moment.
J.J. Avila scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as the Colorado State Rams slipped by the San Jose State Spartans by a mere two points in conference action at The Event Center earlier this week. Also scoring in double figures for the Rams, as they snapped a two-game slide, were Daniel Bejarano and Joe De Ciman with 15 and 13 points, respectively. The defense for CSU allowed the Spartans to convert 9-of-19 behind the 3-point line, but at the same time forced 19 turnovers by the hosts.
One of four players to have started every games for the Rams, Avila sits atop the scoring list for the program with his 19.0 ppg, even though he has shot only 28.6 percent from 3-point range. First in assists (54) and second on the glass (6.9 rpg), Avila has made good on 51.2 percent of his field goal tries. Bejarano is another player who can do it all for CSU, from his 15.1 ppg, to a team-best 9.3 rpg and 51 assists, not to mention matching Avila in the steals department with 19.
The Bulldogs haven't had much luck on the road this season and at the same time Colorado State has been tough at home, which would lead one to believe that the Rams have the inside track tonight. However, if Avila and Bejarano come out slow there's no telling how the meeting will play out.
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