Simpson leads Saint Mary’s to 77-68 win over Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. (AP)—Diamon Simpson scored 17 points and blocked four shots as Saint Mary’s used strong interior play to defeat Fresno State 77-68 on Tuesday night.
Ian O’Leary added 16 points for Saint Mary’s (13-2), which outscored Fresno State 34-14 in the paint. Omar Samhan added 13 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Gaels to a 41-24 rebounding advantage.
Bryan Harvey scored a game-high 20 points for Fresno State (8-8), going 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
Saint Mary’s shot 53.8 percent from the field compared to 37.5 percent for the Bulldogs. Both teams open conference play Saturday.
The Gaels led from the opening tip and enjoyed a 17-point lead midway through the second half before Fresno State rallied to within 54-48 on consecutive 3-pointers by Harvey.
Saint Mary’s answered with an 8-0 run to put the game away. O’Leary and Patrick Mills both hit 3-pointers during the surge.
Kevin Bell had 14 points and eight assists for the Bulldogs, who made all 12 of their free throws. Eddie Miller added 12 points but missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
Saint Mary’s controlled the game from start to finish despite committing 19 turnovers. Fresno State had eight turnovers.
Simpson scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half, including two thunderous dunks, to pace the Gaels to a 37-24 halftime lead.
Saint Mary’s shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Bulldogs 22-14. Fresno State, which relies on outside shooting, made just 2 of 13 3-point attempts in the opening period.