Jemarl Baker Jr. scores a program record 43 points in final home game


Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian

Fresno State senior Jemarl Baker Jr. looks down the court against Chicago State University on March 4.

By Valentina Saldaña, Sports Editor

Fans around the stands chanted “MVP” as Fresno State senior Jemarl Baker Jr. stood at the free-throw line. The Red Wave cheered for Baker throughout a 108-72 beating of Chicago State University, with the chants growing louder the more 3s he sunk.

With a 3-pointer in the second half, Baker tied the program record for the most points scored in regulation, and he was two points away from holding the record for the most points scored in a game.

“It felt really good. I kind of got nervous, I didn’t want to miss the free throws when they were chanting it, but it felt good,” Baker said.

He went off for 43 points in his final home game at the Save Mart Center on March 4.

It was Fresno State men’s basketball’s Senior Day. The Bulldogs recognized five seniors: Baker, Jordan Campbell, Isaiah Hill, Anthony Holland and Alexander Gorton.

“It was great for these guys’ Senior Night to be able to come out and have that type of atmosphere and that type of performance. It was absolutely awesome,” said Fresno State Head Coach Justin Hutson.

Baker and Isaiah Hill share a hug on their senior night. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

Baker’s career-high performance also tied the program’s record for most 3-pointers in a game, going 10-11.

Baker has been with the Bulldogs for two seasons, spending the beginning of his collegiate career at the University of Kentucky and the University of Arizona. He shot 13-for-14 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.

All seniors helped the ‘Dogs on the scoring board in the blowout victory. Campbell had 14 points, Hill put up 13, Holland had nine and Gorton five.

The game got off to an electric start with Campell setting the tone, making a slam dunk as the first two points of the game.

The Cougars quickly responded with a 3 of their own and went on for two more points, making the score 5-2.

The fans in the Save Mart Center were hyped after Campbell made his second dunk of the game off an opponent turnover at the 12-minute mark.

Baker got his first shot of the game by a 3-pointer to give Fresno State the lead, 13-12. The ‘Dogs then went on their first run of the game, making the score 18-11.

Back-and-forth plays continued throughout the middle of the first half, but the ‘Dogs still led 29-21, with 10 minutes left.

About a minute before the half ended, Hill got a steal, which led to a layup by Leo Colimerio, extending their lead 47-35.

The ‘Dogs held a 51-38 lead going into halftime. Baker scored 23 points and was 100% from the field.

He told The Collegian at the post-game press conference when he knew he was aiming for a 40-point game.

“At some point, Zay [Isaiah Hill] came up to me and told me to get 40 [points], so I was like ‘I might as well since I’m here,’” Baker said.

Bulldog Eduardo Andre opened the second half by adding two points via a second-chance layup. Andre finished the game with a total of 10 points for the Bulldogs.

Cougar Jahsean Corbett responded with a two-point jumper, cutting their deficit to 53-40. The Bulldogs then went on a 14-2 run in the first five minutes of the second half to extend the lead, 67-42.

Senior Bulldog Alexander Gorton shoots from beyond the arc. (Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian)

The ‘Dogs continued to add points on the scoreboard and held a 34-point lead with a score of 83-49 with around nine more minutes of game play left.

At around the four-minute mark, senior Gorton got the score to triple digits, 101-60. He made a 3-point shot that was assisted by Steven Vasquez.

The ‘Dogs continued to score seven more points, and the Cougars added 12 points to have a final score of 108-72.

Hutson shared with The Collegian how he felt about the team’s performance.

“They keep fighting and they’re fighting together and have great attitudes. You want them to be able to have that success,” Hutson said.

The Bulldogs will travel to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Championship. The first round is set for Wednesday, March 8, and No. 9 Fresno State will face No. 8 Colorado State.

“We’re not going in there to lose. So we’re going in to fight and go in there and try to win it all. That’s been the goal the whole time,” Baker said.