If your team is going to send off some of its most important seniors, I guess a record setting night against a “rival” team is a good way to do it. And boy, did they set some records. I get that SJSU is rather hapless at pretty much everything they do, but the Bulldogs absolutely hammered the Spartans on Saturday, winning 121-81. That set the record for most points scored at the Save Mart Center, most 3s made by a team, most 3s made individually with 10 by Braxton Huggins, most 3s by a senior in MW play ever, most ever points in a MWC conference game, and the highest scoring Fresno State game since 1997, not to mention setting the program record for most 3s made in a season with 321. I’d call that a pretty good night for anybody.
After locking up the No.3 seed in the upcoming conference tournament, it was well known for the Dogs that this game was all about sending the seniors out on top, and getting a 21st win for Justin Hutson in his first year. The is the most games a 1st year Fresno State coach has won, tied with some guy named Jerry Tarkanian.
The Dogs came out firing on all cylinders from behind the arc, with Braxton Huggins laying in the first 9 points from deep. The first 10 field goals that were made were all triples, and really helped set the pace for a record night. Weirdly enough, SJSU actually tied the game up briefly at 21, but that was about it for resistance from the Spartans. They would answer that brief tie with a 12-0 run, and never looked back. By the time the horn blew on the first half, the Dogs had raced out to a 59-40 lead. Sure, defense wasn’t really a focus of this game, but Braxton Huggins already had 7 triples, Deshon Taylor already had 14, and Noah Blackwell was already at 15. There was three players already around their season average of PPG, and there was still one half of offense to go.
Showing that they definitely did not fall asleep during halftime, the Bulldogs came out just as quickly as they did in the first half. dropping in 6 straight before SJSU could get on the board, stretching their lead out to 27. By this point, the result was decided, but that wasn’t enough for these players. They’d go on a 16-3 run late in the second half, stretch their lead all the way to 40 before the final buzzer sounded. The dominating performance was enough so that all three of the seniors, (Huggins, Taylor, and Sam Bittner) got to take a curtain call in front of the home crowd. All three have been vital pieces to this team, and will be long remembered by the Red Wave.
In a game of absurd numbers, the shooting percentages are even crazier. The Dogs landed 64.5% of their shots, and an absolutely ridiculous 60% from behind the arc. That’s not really a repeatable performance, but dang, these guys went all out for Senior Day. Both Taylor and Huggins scored career highs in points, with 37 and 34 respectively. This marks the 25th game in double figures for the Dogs’ leading scorer Huggins, showing how great of an addition the morning NMSU player has been to the Valley’s team.
Next up, it’s CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT SEASON Y’ALL! The Bulldogs will have until Thursday to get ready for their next game, where they’ll face the winner of No.6 Air Force and No.11 SJSU. If Fresno State can continue shooting like they did Saturday night, they could go on a tear and get 3 teams into the NCAA tournament from the MWC.