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Spartan Basketball: Bullish on the Bulldogs

Valentine’s night was sweet, then mostly bitter for the Spartans

San Jose Spartan, Keith Fisher (5) vs. Fresno State Bulldog, Bryson Williams (11) at the Event Center at SJSU, February 14, 2018
San Jose Spartan, Keith Fisher (5) vs. Fresno State Bulldog, Bryson Williams (11) at the Event Center at SJSU
photo - Vic Aquino |

Compared to the marquee matchup where Nevada prevailed over Boise State on this night - the Fresno State Bulldogs (18-8 & 8-5 in the MW) vs. the Spartans (3-21 & 0-13 in the MW) did have one thing going for it - a noted rivalry with their 171st meeting.

The rivalry, for now, and the game ended with about 6 minutes to go in the first half and the legitimate Bulldogs cruised away with a 77-57 win on the Spartan’s home court.

First Half Summary:

The Spartans came out very flat for the first few minutes of the game falling behind 11-3 right away.

It all seemed prophetic to what Coach Prioleau said in his pre-game interview that he “thought” the Spartans would be ready to play and that he didn’t notice any extra enthusiasm among the players, considering it was a real rivalry.

Fresno historically has had a tough time in San Jose winning only 2 of the past 10 games in San Jose before the night began.

The Spartans woke up and elevated onto cloud nine for about 11 minutes going on a 23-6 run to pull ahead by 10 points. It was probably their best 11 minute stretch of the season.

But once the Bulldogs applied pace, press and pressure - the Bulldogs shut the Spartans down by going on a 10-0 run and 13-2 run to end the half with a one-point lead.

Second Half Summary:

Again, the Spartans came out flat and remained flat for more than 10 minutes of the half and were only able to score 8 points and at midway in the second half, the Bulldogs were up 60-39.

The half was all about the Bulldogs maintaining their athletic dominance over the Spartans and going on a few scoring runs that saw the Bulldog lead balloon up to 24 points towards game’s end.

The Spartans all but gave out in the last few minutes of the game, where the Bulldogs finally emptied their bench with about a minute remaining.

Keith Fisher had a strong night with a well-earned double-double scoring 17 points and corralling 13 rebounds. Ryan Welage added 15 points.

Considering the pressure the Spartans were getting, a slight positive note is that they only had 13 turnovers; well under their almost 18 turnover per game average.

It has to start somewhere for the Spartans and perhaps their next game in Wyoming this Saturday, February 17th can be it.

But until the Spartans can get more athletic all-around, we can only hope at this point.