Bulldogs Top Siena 89-75 in CBI; Tie Championship Series 1-1
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Tyler Johnson and Cezar Guerrero combined for 25 points in a first-half barrage, as the Fresno State men's basketball team beat Siena 89-75 on Wednesday night in the College Basketball Invitational to set up a decisive third game.
Siena (19-18) won the opener of the best-of-three series 61-57 on Monday night at Fresno State (21-17), rallying from 12 points behind in the second half for its first road victory in the postseason.
The final game in the best-of-three is Saturday at Siena at 8:30 a.m. PT on CBS Sports Network and 940 AM ESPN Radio.
The Bulldogs dominated from the onset - building a 43-24 halftime lead that was too large to overcome.
Allen Huddleston led Fresno State with 20 points, 12 in the second half. Johnson finished with 19 points, Paul Watson had 14, Guerrero 13, and Marvelle Harris 11.
Brett Bisping led Siena with 20 points and Marquis Wright 14. Leading scorer Rob Poole had seven points and fouled out.
Siena was allowing 53.2 points per game in the tournament and holding opponents to 35.3 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
Fresno State ignored the chants of "Defense! Defense!" from the sellout home crowd with a stellar display of shooting after a sluggish start.
The Bulldogs were 16 of 21 (76.2 percent) from the floor and 6 of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half, notching 10 assists and outrebounding the Saints 18-7. Fresno State finished the game 23 of 36 (63.9 percent) and 8 of 15 from long range.
Fresno State went up 10-6 on a 3 from the left corner by Johnson with 13:33 left in the opening half, and after Lavon Long hit for the Saints, the Bulldogs went into high gear.
Guerrero scored twice and fed Huddleston for a layup to key a 13-2 spurt punctuated by a 3 from the left side by Huddleston that gave the Bulldogs a 26-13 lead with 6:02 left.
And they weren't through.
Karachi Edo converted a tip off a missed 3-pointer by Johnson and followed with a dunk for a 16-point lead. Guerrero then drained a pair of 3s and four straight points by Johnson in the final minute extended the lead to 43-21.
Oliver's 3-pointer for the Saints at the buzzer narrowed the lead to 19, but another comeback like Monday night never materialized.
The Saints had chances, but shot 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) in the first half, their frustration peaking with five straight misses at the net on one possession while trailing by only six.
Siena fell behind by as many as 26 in the second half before coming alive with its raucous home crowd roaring. A layup by Oliver and a slam dunk by Bisping started a 14-1 surge. Oliver's 3 from the right corner finished it and narrowed the gap to 63-50 midway through the half.
Fresno State and Siena will be two of the final six teams playing in college basketball when the squads face off for the CBI title on Saturday.