O’Neil’s 21 points fuels Fresno State over Portland, 75-68
FRESNO, Calif. (AP)—Fresno State guard Dwight O’Neil scored 21 points and the Bulldogs opened their season with a 75-68 win over Portland Friday in the World Vision Classic.
After a sluggish start, the Bulldogs took a one-point halftime lead and then pulled away using a 26-6 second-half run and improved three-point shooting. The Bulldogs shot only 34 percent in the first half.
O’Neil red-shirted last season but showed little rust as he returned to the floor with the same aggressive play that helped him end the 2005-2006 season with 13 double-figure scoring efforts in the last 15 games.
In the second half, Fresno State’s three-point shooting improved as ball rotation and transition opportunities gave them open looks.
Fresno State shot 50 percent in the second half—70 percent on three-pointers—and forced 10 second-half turnovers.
Bulldogs guard Eddie Miller scored 20 points on four-of-nine shooting from beyond the three-point line.
The Bulldogs, coming off a 22-10 season in which they made it to the postseason for the first time since 2002, trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half. Miller hit a three-pointer as the half expired, though, capping a 12-2 run over the last 3:45 and giving them a 28-27 lead.
Robin Smeulders finished with 17 points to lead Portland.
Fresno State plays Liberty Saturday at 5:30 p.m.