It’s not how you start the season. It’s how you finish.
That has to be the mantra for a young 4-7 Fresno State men’s basketball team that hosts the University of San Francisco (10-3) at the Save Mart Center tonight.
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The Bulldogs opened the season by playing seven of their first 10 games on the road, and three of their opponents were ranked in the Top 25 at the time.
Williams, Grimes Lead the Resurgence
But now they’re riding the hot hand of senior shooting guard New Williams, the rugged play of interior defender Nate Grimes, and a two-game winning streak.
Williams scored a season-high 24 points with six 3-pointers and Grimes added 12 points as Fresno State notched a 95-64 victory at home over IUPUI (4-9) on Friday night.
The Bulldogs’ defense was particularly stellar in the first half as IUPUI managed just 25 points.
High-Scoring USF Has a Deep Bench
Fresno State’s defense will be challenged tonight as USF is averaging more than 83 points a game. Three-point shooting is a big part of the Dons’ offense — they’re hitting an average of 10.5 treys a game.
The Dons boast a deep squad with coach Todd Golden using a nine-man rotation. Jamaree Bouyea leads USF in scoring at 14.8 points a game and is connecting on 41% of his 3-point tries.
In the last four games, Williams has averaged 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game, while shooting 49.1 percent from the field (28-for-57) with 17 3-point field goals (4.3/game).
“Coach (Justin Hutson) has a lot of confidence in me and my teammates have a lot of confidence in me,” Williams says. “So when I’m comfortable out there on the floor and I’m just playing free and playing my game, it just feels natural.”
Meanwhile, Grimes enters averaging 13.3 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. He also has 108 blocked shots as a Bulldog, good for eighth on the all-time Fresno State career chart.
The game starts at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices start at $10.