Saturday, February 03, 2007

A shot at a road victory versus Idaho

Back when we believed in their abilities

The Fresno State Bulldogs enter into the contest Saturday night against the Idaho Vandals coming off of Thursday night’s demoralizing effort. They scored only 12 points at the half, 2 points over the final 13 minutes of that first half, and were down 15 after 20 minutes of play. They finished the game 13-55 from the field and 1-24 from the three.

The Bulldogs managed to get to the free throw line 25 times but only made 15 of the attempts. On top of that they committed 21 turnovers.

I would normally speak to what positives came out of this game but I think the product that resulted in a 54-42 loss was devoid of any true positives.

coming in:

The Vandals will be hosting their second home game in a row Saturday, the first ended in a 68-65 loss against San Jose State Thursday. Idaho has squandered halftime leads in consecutive games, the first against Boise was an 8 point lead, the lead against San Jose State was 3.

Idaho trailed 63-53 with 1:16 remaining but they were able to hit four consecutive 3 pointers while the Spartans only made 3-7 from the free throw line. Down three with eleven seconds and possession the Vandals were not able to get off a quality shot and OJ Avworo’s attempted three was off at the buzzer.

One issue for the Vandals was that leading scorer and team leader Keoni “Kiwi” Watson had fouled out with 1:26 to go.

What to expect:

Expect for the Vandals to play with a lot of confidence early in the game and if the Bulldogs come into Moscow with any hangover from Thursday’s effort then look for the Vandals confidence to grow and shots to fall with regularity. Fresno State needs to make some plays early because they are in a fragile state at this point.

The Bulldogs need someone to emerge from the pack that can do the little things and make plays for them in this contest. Most likely someone like Quinton Hosley who is a maximum effort player. If he can knock down a few shots then follow that up by attacking the rim and finishing, it could go a long way towards the Bulldogs winning their first WAC road game and possibly their only shot at one.

MBs Take:

This is the point in the season that I would call rock bottom. The question is do you bounce back as a team with pride and fight and scratch on every possession or do you lay down? Does this team have the fortitude to just lay it on the line and grind out a victory, any victory? If they are going to bounce back after the debacle of epic proportions versus Hawaii, the Idaho Vandals provide as good as opportunity as any.

Adversity early in the game would break the ‘Dogs fragile spirits and that is the critical thing to watch for. Instead of the team just working hard and making plays they almost look as though they are feeling sorry for themselves and the situation. They need to realize that the only thing that matters is that when people check that score you have outscored your opponents after 40 minutes. How you get there is material for a guy like me to write about, but meaningless.

In the end the Bulldogs win by 4 after trailing at the half.

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