‘Dogs are eliminated in the Mountain West tournament in last-second loss to Colorado State


Marcos Acosta/The Collegian

Jordan Campbell handles the ball for the Fresno State Bulldogs.

By Alexander Scott, Contibutor

The Fresno State men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end on Wednesday, March 8, after losing to Colorado State. During the first round of the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas, the Rams outlasted the Bulldogs 67-65 to move on in the tournament. 

With the loss, Fresno State finished its year with an 11-20 overall record, the program’s worst season performance since the 1989-90 campaign. 

Fresno State head coach Justin Hutson was asked by reporters postgame what is next for the Bulldogs.

“The players say they want to return. I don’t have much control over the staff stuff,” Hutson said. 

In five seasons since being hired, Hutson has led the Bulldogs to an 80-73 l record, including two 20+ win seasons (2018-19, 2021-22). 

Despite modest regular season success, the program has yet to make it to the NCAA National Basketball tournament, or make it past the second round of the Mountain West tournament with Hutson under the realm. 

The Bulldogs struggled to create opportunities for themselves, failing to reach the free throw line at all in the first half. The absence of free throws along with shooting 12-for-30 kept the ‘Dogs trailing 36-29 at halftime. 

The Rams continued to pile on in the second half, extending their lead to 12 on a pair of free throws from John Tonje with 7:47 remaining. Tonje led the Rams in scoring with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting. 

Fresno State responded with a 7-0 run, including a pair of free throws by Isaiah Hill to cut the Rams’ lead down to five. A layup from Hill and a 3-pointer by Jemarl Baker tied the game at 62 with 2:32 to play.

Fresno State then took a 65-62 lead with 1:46 on the clock. Three free throws from Hill in the final minutes of regulation gave the team its first lead of the second half.

Hill finished the day with a game-high of 22 points, shooting 7-for-19 from the field. He added 6 assists and 4 rebounds in the contest. 

Fresno State had the ball down by two, with 2.7 seconds remaining. Anthony Holland heaved a full-court pass to Hill who immediately turned and shot a 3 to win the game. However, the shot was called off  as a timeout was called. 

Following the time out, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on the inbound, thus ending the game and the season. 

“Very similar to last year’s team, we just didn’t quite find a way to win it at the end. We found more of a way to lose it than to find a way to win it,” Hutson said. 

The loss to the Rams marked the 12th time this season that the ‘Dogs lost by single digits, and the eighth time losing by only two possessions. 

After initially starting the season off the bench, Eduardo Andre became a key figure for the Bulldogs as the starting center and thrived in his role. 

This season Andre led the conference with 53 combined blocks and steals.  He played the entire game on Wednesday and recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

While there are no guarantees, Coach Hutson mentioned in the post game radio show on the Bulldog Network that he expects most of the roster to return next season. 

“Guys want to come back because of bonds formed with each other, coaches, community and although things could change, they want to be older guys who finish things out,” Hutson said.  

With only Jordan Campbell graduating, the Bulldogs look to rebound next season with its experienced roster.