Nate Grimes scored 19 points and collected 12 rebounds to lead Fresno State to a 73-53 win over host San Jose State on Wednesday night in a Mountain West Conference men’s basketball opener.
Fresno State (10-3) built a 47-28 halftime lead on the strength of 17 of 28 shooting (60.7 percent) from the field, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range.
“It was great to see everybody step up and have a great team effort and come in and get a tough road win,” said Bulldogs coach Justin Hutson. “Nate had a great game tonight and I think he played great defense early that really helped us.”
Said Fresno State point guard Noah Blackwell of Grimes: “We know he can do that all the time. … He could lead the league in rebounds and we know he can score.”
Bright Spot: Taylor Returns From Injury
All-conference guard Deshon Taylor got back out on the court after missing four games to injury. He finished with nine points and four assists.
The Bulldogs led 9-2 before San Jose State narrowed it to 12-10 at the Save Mart Center. The Spartans stayed within striking distance when Brae Ivey’s 3-pointer made it 26-22 with 7:10 to play before an 18-0 Bulldogs’ run ended the half. Fresno State led by double figures the rest of the way.
Blackwell scored 17 points with five 3s and six assists and New Williams scored 11 for Fresno State. The Bulldogs finished 28 of 54 from the field and outscored the Spartans on the interior, 30-20.
Michael Steadman led the Spartans (3-10) with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Bounceback Victory After Nonconference Loss
Something had to give last Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs hosted Utah Valley State of the Western Athletic Conference.
It was the Bulldogs, who saw their seven-game winning streak snapped in a 64-60 loss to the Wolverines.
Jake Toolson had 15 points to lead Utah Valley State (11-4), which stretched its hot streak to five wins in a row and 10 of its last 11. Braxton Huggins led Fresno State with 19 points.
It was a disappointing performance for the cold-shooting Bulldogs, who set season lows for points, 3-pointers made (six), 3-point percentage (27.3), field goals made (18) and field-goal percentage (34.0).
Next Up for Fresno State
Fresno State will host Colorado State on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Save Mart Center. Tickets for all remaining home games start at $15 at the Save Mart Center Box Office and www.ticketmaster.com.
The Rams (5-9 overall) fell at UNLV, 78-76, in their conference opener. They have struggled of late after starting the season 4-1.
Forward/center Nico Carvacho, the Mountain West’s top rebounder last season at 10.3 a game, had 28 points, 20 rebounds and four assists against the Runnin’ Rebels on Wednesday night.