It must have felt a bit like dj vu for Fresno State in its game against Sam Houston State on Saturday as the Bearkats defeated the Bulldogs 68-57 and extended the nation’s third longest home non-conference win streak to 40 games.
Last season, the Bearkats met Fresno State in Fresno, Calif. in the ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday event where the Kats had one of their worst offensive nights of the season, shooting 25.3 percent in a 78-60 loss to the Bulldogs.
But this year, it was the Bulldogs who struggled to get anything going offensively as the usually consistent Fresno State squad shot an equally poor 27.7 percent from the field and only 3-of-24 or 12.5 percent from 3-point range.
Continuing the trend of their first three games, the Kats played sound defense and allowed very little outside the paint in their fourth straight home victory of the season.
Four Bearkats finished the night with double-figures in the victory over the Bulldogs. DeLuis Ramirez, a junior guard from Miami, Fla., led the Bearkats in scoring with 14 points, followed by Shamir McDaniel with 13. Ryan Bright took top rebound honors with 14, a career high, followed by McDaniel with 11. McDaniel also shot 8-for-10 from the free throw line while Ramirez was 2-for-4.
The Kats came out strong scoring 13 of the game’s first 18 points and were well in control of the game from the start, allowing only nine Bulldog field goals in the first half. Yet Fresno State’s aggressiveness paid off, providing them several opportunities to score from the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs went to the free-throw line 12 times in the first half and sank nine to keep Fresno State in the game in the half trailing by five at 34-29.
The Kats remained consistent throughout the second half with their largest lead of the game at 18 points, but Fresno State’s free-throw efficiency made up for its poor shooting.
The Bearkats’ win over Fresno State marks the team’s 40 home victory against a non-conference opponent, including the 56-54 win over Texas Tech on Nov. 14. The last time Sam Houston State lost a home game to a non-conference opponent was in 1998 when the Bearkats dropped a 73-70 decision to Texas A&M in head coach Bob Marlin’s first year at the helm of the SHSU program.
Sam Houston State plays its next game today on the road against Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 7 p.m. The Kats are scheduled to play their next home game on Thursday against the Div. III Hardin-Simmons Cowboys at 7 p.m.