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The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Head Coach Justin Hutson returns but the ‘Dogs face last-minute loss

Bulldog+guard+Donavan+Yap+jumps+through+Broncos+for+a+layup+in+the+Save+Mart+Center+on+Jan.+23.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Bulldog guard Donavan Yap jumps through Broncos for a layup in the Save Mart Center on Jan. 23.

After missing two games due to an illness, Head Coach Justin Hutson returned to the sideline in a game that was decided in the final minutes.

In place of his absence, assistant coach Keith Brown temporarily stepped in when the Bulldogs faced an 85-82 win over San Jose State on Jan. 16 and an 83-62 loss over Utah State on Jan. 20.

“There’s a lot of parts from this job that are great, but none of them are better than being around the fellas,” said Hutson after his first game back.

The Fresno State men’s basketball team was defeated by Boise State 72-68, on Jan. 23 at the Save Mart Center.

The Broncos got on the board first with a second-chance jumper to take a 2-0 lead.

After a battle of defenses, the Broncos continued outscoring the ‘Dogs 10-4.

But the Bulldogs didn’t stay far behind, cutting the deficit to four points after a one-handed dunk by center Enoch Boakye which shifted the momentum.

Shortly after, yet another dunk by Boakye got the Red Wave to their feet as they clapped and cheered while he hung off the net.

Boakye ended the game as the second top scorer with 12 points going 5-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line.

“I’m proud of him, he’s working hard and it’s hard not to get better here,” Hutson said. “We’re going to love you and push you at the same time.”

Center Enoch Boakye dunks over Broncos in the Save Mart Center on Jan. 23. (Jacqueline Carrillo)

At the 10-minute mark, the Broncos found a stop to the Bulldog’s offensive rhythm while also connecting in the paint to take a 20-15 advantage.

With offenses striking on both ends of the court, Bulldog guard Jalen Weaver forced the Broncos to take a timeout with just over four minutes left in the half after two driving layup connections. The ‘Dogs still trailed 33-24.

A buzzer-beater shot by Bulldog guard Isaiah Pope ended the first half, but the Broncos remained on top 42-32.

Opening up the second half, the Broncos got the first shot off a layup to get on the board first, but Pope matched the energy with a layup of his own.

A 4-2 run by the Broncos kept them up, 48-36.

With just over 11 minutes remaining in the game, the ‘Dogs defense couldn’t hold up against the Broncos allowing them to shoot 58% from the field and 54% from behind the arc. The Broncos gained its biggest lead of the game, 61-45.

After back-and-forth shots, Bulldog guard Leo Colimerio broke out of a defensive steal for a layup, bringing the crowd to its feet once again and cutting the deficit to 10 points.

As the Red Wave cheered, Bulldog guard Donavan Yap connected behind the arc to make the score 63-56.

Fans stand and cheer in the Save Mart Center on Jan. 23. (Jacqueline Carrillo)

“We are all competitors, we all want to win, we are all working hard every day and comfortable with our roles on the team,” Yap said.

This game was Yap’s fourth straight game in double figures accumulating 17 points going 5-for-7 in the paint, 3-for-5 from the arc and 5-for-5 on free throws.

Building off the energy, the ‘Dogs went on a 4-2 run to make it a 5-point game.

At the three-minute mark, a 3-pointer by guard Isaiah Hill tied up the game 66-66, but the ‘Dogs didn’t stop there. After a defensive stop, Yap jumped for a layup to take a 2-point lead.

Although the Broncos let up the lead, they held strong, going on a 6-0 run to seal the game. The Bulldogs fell short 72-68.

Fresno State is now tied for last place in the Mountain West conference with an overall record of 8-10 and 1-4 in conference play. They will stay home to take on Air Force on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Save Mart Center.

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