FRESNO, Calif. – Despite double-doubles from Dane Watts and Anthony Tolliver, the Creighton men’s basketball team fell on the road Saturday night, 69-54, at Fresno State. The host Bulldogs improved to 9-1 thanks in part to 13 three-pointers and 10 blocked shots, while Creighton fell to 4-3 with the setback.
Despite having its first three shots of the night blocked, Creighton took its only lead at 3-2 on an early three-pointer from Nate Funk. Fresno State answered with a barrage of three-pointers, hitting four during a 12-2 flurry to go up 14-5 after just more than six minutes.
The Bulldogs continued their hot shooting, using three more trifectas during a 9-4 surge to go ahead 25-12. FSU’s biggest lead of the night came at 31-14 on Kevin Bell’s three-pointer with 5:42 to go in the first half, Fresno’s eighth trey in its first 11 baskets.
Creighton fought back late in the first half. Treys from Watts and Isacc Miles cut the deficit to 13, and it dropped to single-digits on Watts’ breakaway dunk to close the first half scoring. CU trailed 35-26 at intermission despite shooting only 27.3 percent in the first 20 minutes.
Creighton had some opportunities in the second half but could not buy a basket from the outside. The Bluejays, who finished 4-of-24 from downtown for the game, were 0-of-13 from deep in the second half.
Creighton got within five points on three occasions, with the last time coming at 43-38 with 11:57 to go. However, Fresno’s Ja’Vance Coleman, who hit just 1-of-10 first-half shots, made a tough fadeaway jumper from the elbow to end that rally.
The Jays last gasp came with just over five minutes to play. CU got a three-point play from Tolliver to get within 57-49, and then forced a turnover, only to turn it over on its next two possessions as Fresno built its lead to double-digits for good.
Tolliver had his third double-double in the last four games, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with two blocked shots. Watts tied his career-high with 12 rebounds while adding 10 points for his first career double-double. Also in double-figures was Funk, who scored 13 points and had four steals but hit just 6-of-18 from the field. Creighton shot 31.3 percent for the game, including 16.7 percent (4-24) from three-point land and 55.6 percent (10-18) at the line.
Fresno State used just seven players, but its abundance of athleticism and shooting proficiency was too much for Creighton to overcome. Senior center Hector Hernandez hit four trifectas and finished with a game-high 14 points. Eddie Miller had 13 points off the bench, while Bell (12 points) and Coleman had 10 points. Also making an impact on both ends of the floor was Dominic McGuire, a 6-8 transfer from Cal. McGuire had nine points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots. He was one of five Fresno State players to make two or more shots from beyond the arc. FSU shot 40.4 percent for the game (23-57), 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) from three-point range, and 83.3 percent (10-12) at the line. Fresno also added 18 assists (seven by Coleman) and six steals.