Wright comes up big for San Jose St. in 69-65 win over Fresno St.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—DaShawn Wright scored 12 points in the second half, including a pair of free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining, and San Jose State continued its turnaround under third-year coach George Nessman with a 69-65 win over Fresno State on Thursday night.
Jamon Hill, playing in place of injured starting point guard Justin Graham, matched his season high with 14 points and added seven rebounds and four assists for the Spartans (9-8, 2-3 Western Athletic Conference). It was San Jose State’s second win in three games over the Bulldogs after losing 15 straight to Fresno State from 1999-2006.
Wright finished with 14 points and seven rebounds while C.J. Webster had 12 points and six rebounds for the Spartans, who need only one more win to reach double digits in victories for the first time since 2001-02.
Kevin Bell had 19 points and four assists for Fresno State (9-9, 2-2 WAC). The Bulldogs, who play at Hawaii on Saturday before returning home to host San Jose State on Jan. 26, have dropped seven of nine on the road this season.
Hector Hernandez added 15 points and nine rebounds for Fresno State, which was playing its first game without sophomore guard Bryan Harvey. On Thursday, Harvey was suspended for the remainder of the season by coach Steve Cleveland for a violation of athletic department policy.
Without Harvey, the team’s third-best 3-point shooter, Fresno State struggled from beyond the arc and went only 5 of 27. Eddie Miller, coming off a career-high 27 points against Idaho when he made seven 3-pointers, had just eight points and was 2 of 11 on 3’s.
San Jose State made seven of its first 11 shots in the second half and took a 50-44 lead on a 3-pointer from Hill. Fresno State, on the other hand, missed nine of its first 15 shots after halftime and committed three turnovers in the first eight minutes after having only four the entire first half.
The Bulldogs pulled within 57-55, however, on a pair of Bell free throws with 5:30 remaining before Wright took over for the Spartans.
He hit a turnaround shot from just inside the free throw line then followed with back-to-back 12-foot jumpers to give San Jose State a 64-59 lead. Later, after Bell scored on a quick drive through the lane to pull Fresno State within 67-63 with 20 seconds left, Wright added a pair of free throws to seal the win for the Spartans.
San Jose was playing its first game without Graham, the injured freshman point guard who suffered a fractured right elbow while taking a charge in San Jose State’s 65-64 loss to Hawaii on Monday. Graham, averaging 12.2 points and 3.1 assists, is expected to be out four weeks.
Without Graham, the Spartans tried early to work the ball inside to Webster, the reigning WAC player of the week. Webster responded with six points in the first eight minutes before the Bulldogs collapsed their defense and forced San Jose State into taking jumpers.
Hernandez was part of the effort to slow Webster down and sparked a late Fresno State run after San Jose State took a 28-20 lead midway through the first half.
The 6-foot-9 senior forward scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer, to ignite a 13-3 Bulldogs run that tied the game at halftime. Bell added four points of his nine first-half points in the run.