After a string of losses that dropped Fresno State down to 6th in the conference, they have rebounded now with two straight wins heading into the pivotal month of March. Orlando Robinson buried a 3pt shot with less than a minute remaining Monday night to give the Dogs a win on their home finale and the season sweep of the New Mexico Lobos. Let’s recap what happened at the Save Mart Center Monday night.
Robinson was once again the star for Fresno, finishing with 28 points and his 8th double-double of the season in what may be his final home game in cardinal and blue. Isaiah Hill finished 2nd on the team with 13 points to go along with 5 assists, including the important assist to set up Robinson’s final shot with 53 seconds to go in the game. Anthony Holland was the third Dog to break into double digits with 10 points on a 4-7 night.
By the halfway point of the first half, it truly did look like the Bulldogs were in clear control of the gameflow, as they built up an 12 point lead after an Isaiah Hill 3pt shot before the first round of timeouts. Even at halftime, Fresno State had an 8 point lead following two late Lobo free throws.
In the second half though, the wheels began to fall off. Fresno went through a scoring drought as New Mexico clawed their way back, beginning the half on an 18-6 run that gave them a 5pt advantage with 8 minutes remaining in the game. Orlando Robinson would then score the next 9 Bulldog points to get them back into the game before an Isaiah Hill layup with 3 minutes to go gave the Dogs their first lead since the 11:28 mark. Isaiah would sink one more 3pt shot to go ahead 68-66 before Jamal Mashburn would answer at the other end to tie the game back at 68. That was when Hill and Robinson teamed up one more time, with Robinson sinking his 3pt attempt with 54 seconds to go in the game to put the Dogs ahead for good. New Mexico would miss their two final shots, and the Dogs closed out Senior Night with a hard-fought victory on the hardwood.
On the stats end, the Dogs shot 51% from the field in the game, and a good 47.6% from beyond the arc. Where they fell down the most was at free throws, only making 3 of their 6 attempts at the line. The Lobos shot 43% from the floor, and only 33% from 3pt depth. They shot an impressive 86% at the free throw line though, going 12-14. The star for New Mexico was Jamal Mashburn Jr. The Sophomore put up 27 points in the game, second only to Orlando Robinson. He did this on a 9-22 night, adding another 9 points at the free throw line. If it wasn’t for Robinson’s late game heroics, Mashburn would have easily been the player of the game Monday night.
With the final home game done, Fresno State now goes on the road for their final two games, facing San Diego State Thursday night, then a trip to Wyoming Saturday afternoon. They currently sit in 6th place in the conference, a half game behind UNLV with two games to go. If they want to lock up that first round bye in the upcoming conference tournament, they’ll need to sweep these last two games, and hope that UNLV stumbles against Wyoming or New Mexico in their final two games. The Rebels take on Wyoming Wednesday night and the Lobos Saturday night.