Boise State opens on torrid pace, beats Fresno State 81-70
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — James Webb III scored 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds as Boise State continued its torrid shooting early, then hung on to beat Fresno State 81-70 on Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos (12-4, 3-0 Mountain West) shot 50 percent from the field — their third game this month shooting better than 45 percent — in winning their ninth consecutive game and 17th in a row at Taco Bell Arena.
Webb had 18 points in the first half when the Broncos made 18 of 27 shots and took a 51-32 lead. It was Boise State’s second half in a row where the Broncos shot better than 56 percent. In the second half of Tuesday’s win at Utah State, Boise State made 17 of 24 shots.
“That first half was one of our best halves this year,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “And for us to have it against Fresno State says a lot because we have a lot of respect for them. I was really impressed how our guys approached that first half.”
Nick Duncan and Anthony Drmic scored 13 points apiece and Mikey Thompson added 12 for Boise State, which won despite making only three field goals in the final 15 minutes of the second half.
“I’m not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill,” Rice said. “We did some good things in the second half. We got some stops and made just free throws to get the job done down the stretch.”
Fresno State (11-6, 2-2) was led by 26 points from Marvelle Harris. The Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, got within 67-64 with 5:02 to play but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Fresno State committed a season-high 32 fouls and had four players foul out, hurting the Bulldogs’ chance for a comeback.
Fresno State led 22-21 midway through the first half but missed nine of its final 10 shots to close the first half and fall into the huge hole.
“We let that game get away from us with about 10 minutes left in the first half,” Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said. “They outworked us on several multiple-effort plays, and they got that big lead.”
Karachi Edo finished with 12 points for Fresno State, while Paul Watson had 11 before each fouled out.
“I commend our guys for how hard they fought and stayed in the game,” Terry said. “It would have been very easy for our guys to fold their tents. We got it to a one-possession game with 4 minutes to go.”
It is the only scheduled meeting between the teams this season.
Fresno State: Has lost 12 consecutive games in Boise. The Bulldogs’ last win at Boise State came on Jan. 15, 2004. ... The 51 points allowed by Fresno State in the first half were the most allowed by the Bulldogs this season. ... Fresno State committed more turnovers (11) than its opponent for just the third time this season.
Boise State: Reserve center Robin Jorch saw his first action since Dec. 9. He’d been out with an ankle injury. He scored one point. ... After shooting 66.7 percent in the first half, Boise State made only 7 of 23 shots in the second half and one of those makes came on a goaltending call.
Fresno State hosts San Jose State on Saturday.
Boise State plays at Nevada on Wednesday.