"We played 30 minutes of really good basketball, then played 10 minutes of the worst basketball I've seen around in a long time," said head coach Steve Cleveland.
"Turning the ball over, [we] quit defending. We kind of stopped playing. I'm not going to say we don't give [Fresno] Pacific credit, they deserve credit for competing and fighting to the end."
Early on, the Sunbirds had no answer for Mychal Ladd. He scored the first eight points of the game and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in the first half. Behind his strong start, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 24-2 lead less than six minutes into the ball game. Ladd, who went 5-of-6 from three-point range, finished with a game-high 22 points.
"I probably could've," Ladd said of the possibility of scoring 30 or 40 points. "I got in foul trouble in the first half. I had to sit out the last eight minutes."
The ‘Dogs shot 54.8% from the field in the first half and out-rebounded FPU 23-13.
The second half was a different tale as Fresno State tried to feed the ball into the post a bit more.
"In the second half, I was kind of cold," said Ladd. "But in the second half, I was trying to get the ball into Greg [Smith] more."
Greg Smith scored nine of his 12 points in the second shooting over 70% from the field. But he struggled, like the rest of the team, from the foul line. He finished just 2-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Nevertheless, the ‘Dogs dominated for the most part and were able to get 10 players minutes. Cleveland had hoped to get true freshmen Jerry Brown and Garrett Johnson more playing time but as the 20-point lead at the 7:48 slowly dwindle over the course of the next five minutes; he was forced to keep his starters in.
Paul George and Sylvester Seay both scored 13 points apiece. Brandon Sperling led the Bulldogs with 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Steven Shepp, who looked impressive running the offense, finished with five points, four assist and a remarkable five steals.
Fresno State opens the season next Friday, November 13 at the Save Mart Center against San Francisco State.
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