Fresno State's senior night could not have been scripted any better than it turned out on Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs had already hit 20 wins, but it was not until last Saturday’s win at New Mexico that many Fresno State fans were convinced to show their support in the Save Mart Center. Seniors Marvelle Harris, Julien Lewis and Cezar Guerrero were treated to a crowd of almost 10,000, and they treated them to a dominant performance over the Colorado State Rams.
After a slow start to the game, the Bulldogs got things going on an 11-0 run capped by the first of six Julien Lewis 3-pointers.
Joe De Ciman answered for the Rams to with two 3-pointers and a layup on three consecutive possessions to draw the score to 17-14, but it was all Bulldogs from there. Fresno State exploded for a 17-2 run, which included seven points from Lewis on three consecutive possessions.
Lewis added another 3-pointer on Fresno State’s final possession of the half to finish with 17 of the Bulldogs 43 points in the first half. The ‘Dogs went into the break with a 20 point lead.
Colorado State came no closer than 12 points in the second half. Two Antwan Scott 3-pointers narrowed the score to 50-38, but the Bulldogs answered with eight quick points as another Lewis 3-pointer put Fresno State back up by 20.
The hot shooting continued as Fresno State finished with a 53 percent clip on the night. Julien Lewis shot 11 of 16 from the floor and made 6 of 7 3-pointers for a career-high 30 points. Lewis had made only seven 3-pointers in the team’s first 27 games. In the last three appearances, he has made 14 of 21 from deep.
“It is really nothing other than confidence and my teammates trusting me,” Lewis said. “I go out there everyday after practice and put in extra reps like I normally do, and do a shoot around. The extra reps help me to stay in the groove and gain some extra confidence.”
Marvelle Harris, who is 32 points shy of the Fresno State all-time scoring record, had 23 points on the night. Senior Cezar Guerrero also added four points and three assists.
“These seniors have been with us for a long time,” Fresno State Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “Julien has been here for three years, Cezar has been here for four years, and Marvelle has been here for four years. They’ve really been the building blocks of this program and they’ve given us the foundation to move this program in the right direction.
For Colorado State, De Ciman and Scott both made four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points apiece.
Fresno State has now won five straight games, as well as seven of their last eight. At 21-9 overall and 12-5 in the Mountain West, they are hot at the right time and would earn the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Tournament with a win at Utah State on Saturday, or a Boise State loss.
“I just think we realized that if we play together as a team and play for everybody, not just ourselves, we can beat anybody,” forward Cullen Russo said of the team’s recent success. “Coach always says, ‘You need to be two feet in, you can’t be one foot in and one foot out.’ Everybody has really been two feet in and believing in each other and believing in our motto.”
The Bulldogs tip off at Utah State at 6 p.m. PT for the final game of the regular season before