Dogs rally for win over Utah State


Fresno State (13-4, 3-1 Mountain West) has now won its first nine home games of the 2021-22 season after rallying for a gritty win over Utah State.

FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno State men's basketball team rallied to defeat the Utah State Aggies 61-54 on Tuesday night at the Save Mart Center.

Fresno State (13-4, 3-1 Mountain West) erased a 16-point deficit to win its only regular season game scheduled against Utah State (10-8, 1-4 Mountain West) – behind a resilient team effort.

Fresno State junior guard Deon Stroud scored a game-high 14 point for the Bulldogs, who extended their home winning streak to nine straight to open the season – just one shy of tying the arena record set over the course of two seasons in 2006.

Anthony Holland added 13 points, including three big 3-pointers, and Orlando Robinson recorded his third straight double-double (11 points/13 rebounds) with six assists and three blocks to power Fresno State to its third consecutive victory overall.

How it happened: After the Bulldogs fell behind 29-13 late in the first half, Fresno State used three free throws made by Robinson over the course of two trips to the line to ignite a 28-11 run to take a 41-40 lead when Stroud buried a 3-pointer with 9:15 to play.

Fresno State and Utah State battled down the stretch, but the Bulldogs created enough separation to finish off the seven-point win.

As a squad, Fresno State locked in defensively and at the free throw line to overcome its start.

The victory is the Bulldogs' second win over the Aggies in head coach Juston Hutson’s tenure and first since a thrilling come-from-behind 78-77 win at Utah State in 2019, which saw the 'Dogs rally from a 12-point deficit to win in the Spectrum.

Team Notes:

Fresno State improved to 9-0 at home this season (13-4 overall, 3-1 Mountain West).

Fresno State has now limited its opponents to fewer than 70 points in 16 of 17 games this season.

Fresno State had three players score in double figures for the third time this season. The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 when at least three players score in double figures.

Fresno State improved to 21-2 when allowing under 60 points in Hutson's tenure (2018-present).

Fresno State shot 56.5 percent from the field in the second half after making just 21.7 percent from the field in the first half.

Fresno State was 18-for-20 from the free throw line (90.0 percent) – the second time this season and the third-time ever at the Save Mart Center making at least 90 percent of its free throw attempts with a minimum of 20 attempts.

Fresno State overcame a season-high 16-point deficit in the win.

The Bulldogs' 21 points in the first half tied the season-low for points in a first half and the 10-point halftime deficit was also a season-high.

This was the third time this season (and first win) Fresno State has trailed at halftime. 

Player Notes:

Orlando Robinson

Orlando Robinson recorded his fifth double-double of the season, 21st double-double of his career.

Robinson led the team with 13 rebounds, grabbing 10+ rebounds for the fifth time this season.

Robinson scored in double figures for the 16th time this season.

Robinson had a season-high six assists.

Deon Stroud

Deon Stroud had a game-high 14 points, tying his season-high.

Stroud scored in double figures for the fifth time this season.

Stroud was 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Anthony Holland

Anthony Holland played a team-high 38 minutes.

Holland scored in double figures for the seventh time this season.

Holland was 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Quotes:

Justin Hutson, Fresno State head coach

About adjustments made during the game...

"I thought early in the game our intensity and communication was not there. We just weren't sharp. Over the course, we made a few changes but I thought we were just a little bit more locked in."

About what was said in order to bring that intensity... 

"We had to just keep fighting. We had to talk about our mentality and say hey we can do this. We had to make some consecutive stops and make the extra pass."

Deon Stroud, Fresno State guard

About what this game meant for his confidence…

"Not too much really. It was just a boost of getting comfortable. Not necessarily just confidence, but mainly feel."

About his mentality in this game…

"Just staying locked in. My opportunity came tonight. Keeping a straight head, staying level headed. My teammates do a great job giving me the ball."

Anthony Holland, Fresno State guard/forward

About his mentality when it gets down to crunch time…

"I just try to stay focused and finish the game strong. Especially extra focus when it's close."


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