Pacific (1-0) at Fresno State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Save Mart Center (15,596) -- Fresno, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 1-0, Fresno State 0-0. Away Record: Pacific 0-0, Fresno State 1-1. Neutral Record: Pacific 0-0, Fresno State 0-0. Conference Record: Pacific 0-0, Fresno State 0-0. Series Record: Pacific leads 78-74.
GAME NOTES: Coming off an atrocious offensive effort the Fresno State Bulldogs return home to the Save Mart Center to host the Pacific Tigers Friday night.
Pacific opened its season with an easy 76-38 win over Division II opponent Holy Names. It was a good warm up for a Tigers' squad that is coming off back- to-back losing seasons for the first time since a three-year streak from 1986-1989. This is just a one-game road stint for the Tigers who return home to host Oral Roberts on Monday.
There are two ways to look at Fresno State's 39-30 win over UC Riverside. It could be seen as either a dominating defensive effort or a poor offensive showing. In reality it was a bit of both but Fresno State won't be complaining as it sits at 2-0 on the season after the win. The Bulldogs will do battle with another instate foe in its next matchup on the road against Cal Poly.
There is a great deal of history between these squads. The Bulldogs and Tigers have met every season, except for 2007, since the first meeting between these squads during the 1964-65 campaign. In that time Pacific holds a 78-74 edge although Fresno State is 46-30 at home in the series.
Since Pacific had very little trouble with Holy Names, 16 different players got on the court and 13 of them scored. It was a rather business-like win with Pacific shooting a solid 48.4 percent from the floor while limiting Holy Names to 28.8 percent shooting.
Going forward, Pacific will lean on the scoring strength of its top scorers from a season ago; Lorenzo McCloud and Ross Rivera. McCloud, a senior guard, checked in at a team-high 11.2 points per game last season and also handled the point (3.5 apg). McCloud netted all three of his shots in the opener but played in only 18 minutes. Rivera, a 6-7 forward, played a team-high 21 minutes and finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Rivera (11.1 ppg) was also a consistent scorer for the Tigers last season but could really stand to improve on the boards. Senior swingman Travis Fulton started in 26 games last season and had solid numbers (9.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) but was relegated to the bench in the opener where he turned in a 10-point effort in 16 minutes. He will likely be relied on as a scorer off the bench during the season but could also get time as a starter.
Offense was nowhere to be found for Fresno State in its matchup against UC Riverside with the Bulldogs connecting on only 28.2 percent of its shots in the game. Luckily Fresno State was able to stymie the offensive efforts of the Highlanders, who shot at just a 24.5 percent clip but did command a 41-30 edge on the boards.
Through the first two games Allen Huddleston has been the only player to have much success offensively. The junior guard put in 17 points against UC Riverside and was the only player in double figures. On the season he is scoring 13.0 points per game and shooting 33.3 percent from the floor, which is the second-best mark on the team. Marvelle Harris has perhaps earned himself some more playing time going forward. Harris is scoring 8.5 points per game off the bench, but more importantly has been able to score efficiently. The freshman guard has connected on 77.8 percent of his shots thus far. Forward Kevin Foster, like the rest of the squad, has not gotten much offensively but has been strong on the boards (8.5 pg).
Its tough to really tell if Pacific has improved from last season because of the level of competition in its first game. Fresno State meanwhile, needs to get on track offensively and with the home crowd behind it, should be able to against the untested Tigers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 64, Pacific 56
11/16 10:38:52 ET