UW vs. Fresno State men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Robert Kuwada, who covers Fresno State men’s basketball for the Fresno Bee, about Wednesday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Robert Kuwada

Robert Kuwada

Tip off is at 7 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie

Follow on Twitter: @rkuwada

What is the health status of the Bulldogs heading into this game as they were without four frontcourt players in their last game at Nevada?

Fresno State will go into the game short, but could have at least one player back. Forward Torren Jones has been ruled out and forward Karachi Edo and center Terrell Carter II are doubtful. Forward Paul Watson (calf) could be back, but coach Rodney Terry said they are not going to push and risk further injury. Watson would be a critical piece against the Cowboys – he defended Josh Adams most of the second half in that first matchup down here and he was 3 of 12 over those 18 or so minutes.

Fresno State’s win over first-place San Diego State last week showed how good the Bulldogs are, but aside from the recent rash of injuries and illnesses, what has led to some of the inconsistent play with this group? 

That’s a very good question. It’s a bit weird for an older team with guys like Marvelle Harris, Cezar Guerrero and Julien Lewis that have played a lot of college basketball, but the consistency of effort hasn’t always been there. I think the loss at San Jose State with a chance to win a third conference game in a row was a tipping point, though, because they have been a lot more competitive since even while missing some key pieces. The Bulldogs beat UNLV without Jones, who had 18 points and eight rebounds in the first meeting. They beat San Diego State without Jones and Edo and with Watson going down early in the second half. They came from 13 down in the second half to force overtime before losing at Nevada, losing Carter that morning. They’re just are competing much better now than they did early in the year.

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3 takes from Wyoming’s 64-59 loss to Fresno State

Here are my three takes from Wyoming’s 64-59 home loss to Fresno State Wednesday night at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

1. The better team — on this night — won: As UW coach Larry Shyatt said — along with the players — Fresno State beat the Cowboys based on the fact UW had 14 turnovers (compared to 13 in its previous two games), was outrebounded 12-6 on the offensive glass and made only 8 of 13 free throws in the second half. That pretty much sums it up. Fresno State, one of the top teams in the nation in steals, had eight in the game. It turned 14 turnovers into 17 points, and those 12 offensive rebounds into 15 points. I also thought what Shyatt said was accurate about how this game was a lot like several others UW played this season — especially in conference play. Close late in the game, but more often than not, UW made the plays down the stretch to win. In this game, it didn’t.

Here is Shyatt after the game:


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UW-Fresno State men’s hoops Q&A

Robert Kuwada

Robert Kuwada

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Robert Kuwada, who covers Fresno State men’s basketball for the Fresno Bee, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. MT at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.

Follow on Twitter: @rkuwada

He’s only been back for one game, but what kind of impact do you think junior point guard Cezar Guerrero will have on the Bulldogs?

Guerrero helps them a lot, just from a depth standpoint. I would expect he will work his way back into the starting lineup down the road, but he can play at the one and the two

Cesar Guerrero

Cesar Guerrero

(the year he was at Oklahoma State he played off the ball) and having another guy that can score the ball shouldn’t hurt. The Bulldogs went through a stretch where they didn’t have a lot of options and they have not had a lot of scoring off the bench. In the first four Mountain West games before Guerrero became eligible, the bench had scored only 33 points and 19 of that came from Marvelle Harris, who did not start at New Mexico after showing up late for a practice.

After a slow start to the season, Fresno State has won four in a row and are tied for the league lead. What has changed that’s led to the improved play?

They got healthy, really. Julien Lewis, the Texas transfer, missed 18 days of preseason practice due to a concussion and got off to a very slow start. Forward Alex Davis suffered a high ankle sprain in a preseason scrimmage, and he was not close to ready at the start of the season. He tried to play, but they ended up shutting him down for close to a month. It’s not like they were doing some stuff in practice and just not playing – they weren’t even able to practice. But both of those guys are much better now than they were one month ago. Paul Watson got off to a slow start shooting the ball, as well, so they were pretty limited. That’s three starters right there. The inexperience at the point guard position also hurt them – they had three games at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida that they lost by six or fewer points and could have won all of them had they managed the late-game situations with the ball better. One of those losses is to Marist, which is 1-15. So, they’re healthy now. They’ve had some time to practice and play together with all of their pieces. The play at the point has improved with Emmanuel Owootoah and Harris, and now with Guerrero returning.

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