The Fresno State Bulldogs will play the Idaho Vandals at the Cowan Spectrum Thursday at 7pm. The Bulldogs come in with an 11-13 record (4-6 WAC), while the Vandals hold a 5-17 overall record (2-9 WAC). Neither team has fared well on the road, the Vandals are winless at 0-12, and the Bulldogs haven’t fared much better at 2-8.
The Vandals entering:
Idaho returns home after a tough road loss at previously winless in WAC play Louisiana Tech 72-64. With Jordan Brooks in foul trouble, the Vandals struggled to replace his scoring and he finished with 9 points and 13 rebounds.
Terrence Simmons had 12 points and 6 assists while Michael Crowell added 13 points and 6 rebounds while playing the whole 40 minutes.
Idaho dropped the road game versus La Tech due to an inability to take care of the ball. The Vandals finished with an unacceptable 27 turnovers in Ruston. They also put Tech on the line 41 times and brought the game with a grinding halt with the multitude of fouls.
The Bulldogs entering:
The Dogs have dropped 3 of their last 4 games, the latest a tough home loss to conference leading Utah State 77-72. The Dogs got out of the gates slow as has been the case most of the season, even falling behind 24-7 midway through the 1st.
The Dogs were down 39-25 at the half, but made a second half run and cut the lead to 73-70 with just under a minute left. They had an opportunity to tie but Eddie Miller’s 3 was off the mark.
Fresno State was led by Hector Hernandez, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds in what many consider his best outing of the season. Guards Kevin Bell and Eddie Miller both finished with 20 points, Bell added 5 assists and 5 steals while Miller shot 5-11 from 3.
Dwight O’Neil, in his 2nd game back from a wrist injury, played 24 minutes and finished with a made 3 point field goal and a crucial steal to set up the opportunity to tie. He is obviously out of shape and will need the remainder of the WAC schedule to return to a version closer to his original form.
What to look for:
Idaho is a formidable team at home and the Bulldogs are a bad road team. Mix those 2 issues together and you have difficult sledding ahead for Coach Cleveland and his squad. They will need to put the clamps on all-everything Vandal Jordan Brooks, make sure Mike Hall’s 3 point attempts are contested, and keep the turnovers to a minimum. On the flip side, the Dogs need to keep the pressure up on the turnover prone Vandals to create some easy opportunities for themselves.
Its close, the Dogs stay in it, Idaho turns the ball over to much down the stretch and Bell, Miller, and Hernandez all go for 18+ points. Its up to the rest of the guys to make up the difference.