Fresno St. 75, Pacific 71
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian admitted his 14th-ranked Bulldogs ``aren’t where we should be″ after they squeaked past Pacific 75-71 Friday in the season opener for both teams.
``I had lots of doubts going in, and they threw some things at us that we were not prepared for, like the zone defense,″ Tarkanian said. ``We haven’t worked on it.″
The Bulldogs led by 14 points with four minutes left, but the Tigers began a press that, combined with nine points from Corey Anders, cut Fresno’s lead to two with 14 seconds left. Dominick Young sank two free throws to give Fresno its final margin.
``Fresno State didn’t handle the pressure very well, and we got some turnovers,″ Pacific coach Bob Thomason said.
Pacific lost despite 26 points from Michael Olowokandi. Terrance Roberson and Kendric Brooks led the Fresno State with 13 points each.
Guard Monty Owens scored eight of Pacific’s first 10 points in the second half after Fresno State took a 10-point halftime lead. Gerrit Terdenge responded with four points during that stretch to keep the Bulldogs ahead.
The Tigers closed to 45-41, but Kendric Brooks hit two baskets to put Fresno ahead by eight again.
Fresno State’s Darnell McCulloch made two free throws and a 3-point play to push the lead to nine again midway in the half.
The Tigers kept clawing back and got within five points again, but two points from Khary Stanley and three from Chris Herren put Fresno State’s lead back to 10. The Bulldogs quickly made it 14 before the Tigers made their late run.
The Bulldogs took an early lead on a 3-pointer and a tip-in by Roberson, and went up by 10 points midway in the first half.
But the Tigers, paced by four points each from Olowokandi and Adam Jacobsen, cut Fresno State’s lead to 27-22.
Terdenge and Herren hit 3-point plays for the Bulldogs to widen the lead. Roberson tipped the ball in at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 37-27 halftime lead.
Fresno State’s starting center, Rahshaan Smith, and forward Danyell Macklin were academically ineligible for the opener, but coach Jerry Tarkanian hopes they will cleared to play next week.