Andre Roberson rebounded Spencer Dinwiddie’s missed free shot with 17.2 seconds to play and was fouled immediately. It was Dinwiddie’s first points of the evening after scoring 24 points in consecutive games. More impressively, it was Roberson’s 20th rebound as Colorado had enough to outlast Fresno State in the non-conference matchup.
“He’s one of the better rebounders in the country,” Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said of Roberson. “We made him look like a lottery pick tonight.”
Roberson would convert both his foul shots to seal the game, and the Bulldogs couldn’t close the game after cutting the Buffalos’ lead to 45-43. Kevin Foster’s fade-away baseline jumper with under a minute to play got Fresno State with four.
Tyler Johnson scored all seven of his points in the final three minutes. He nailed a three-pointer with 2:59 to play to give FS life after the ‘Dogs fell behind by 11 points – its largest deficit of the game. Johnson hit another shot exactly a minute later to cut Colorado’s lead to 45-39.
“We knew we had a really good opponent coming in…we got off to slow start thought we had much better effort in the second half,” said Terry.
Fresno State was led by Foster’s eight points and eight rebounds. He and Johnson were the only Bulldogs to make more than two shots. Allen Huddleston and Robert Upshaw both attempted 10 shots and each made just two.
Roberson led Colorado with 17 points. Askia Booker and Josh Scott added 14 and 11 points, respectively. The trio accounted for 84% of the Buffs points.
FS used a quick 7-0 run to climb back into the game early in the second half. Huddleston’s three-point play cut the lead to 27-24. But he then took a few ill advised shots, including a transition three where Kevin Olekaibe was wide open in the corner, and threw a poor ally-oop to Upshaw to stall the Bulldogs momentum.
Jerry Brown added a free throw to make it an 8-0 run until Roberson ended the Buffalos scoring drought. Brown converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to one before Upshaw gave the ‘Dogs their first lead since early in first half, 30-29, at the 12:15 mark.
The 13-2 run was short lived as CU ran off a 12-2 run to regain the advantage. Unheralded starter Sabatino Chen highlighted the run for the Buffs with an ally-oop assist to Roberson for a dunk followed by consecutive buckets – his only points in the game.
That run was the only stretch where the ‘Dogs shot the ball relatively well on a night where they made just 29.6% of their shots.
“Wish I knew that magic answer,” Terry said about the team’s shooting woes.
Fresno State struggled throughout the first half hitting shots. Midway through the half, four of the Bulldogs five starters had yet to attempt a shot but all four bench players did.
The ‘Dogs gained some momentum with back-to-back three-pointers by Olekaibe and Garret Johnson at the 6:22 mark to cut Colorado’s lead to one. A Buffalos’ turnover followed and FS had an opportunity to take the lead but failed to score the remainder of the first half. CU used a 9-0 run to create distance and take a 27-17 lead at halftime.
Wednesday’s announced crowd of 6,599 was the largest of the season.
Fresno State next hosts UC Irvine on Saturday night. Tip off is at 7 p.m.
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