Warriors Play Well Against Fresno in Final Exhibition
FRESNO – For the second season in a row, the Warriors had their best exhibition performance in their final game before the regular season opener. Sunday, the Warriors hung tough with Central Valley neighbor Fresno State before falling 80-66.
In 2007-08, the Warriors pulled off a 69-68 upset of NCAA Division I Santa Clara in their third and final exhibition of the season. For much of the game it looked as though the Warriors had a shot at repeating the feat before Fresno State came on strong late in the second half to put the game away.
The Warriors had three players score in double digits, led by senior Benny Koochoie with 22 points. Matt Ibewiro got his first start of the exhibition schedule and scored 16 points with five rebounds. Chris Hayes added 12 points. Fresno State was led by Sylvester Seay who had a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
In the second half, the Warriors kept pace but were not able to fight the depth of the Fresno State bench. The Warriors came within four points after Hayes scored nine points in two minutes, but the Bulldogs would pull away again and get their biggest lead of the game, 14 points, with a long 2-pointer from Nedeljko Golubovic with 5:55 to play in the game.
The Warriors’ shooting troubles continued Sunday in the first half, as they shot just 28.1 percent from the field, as well as going 0-for-4 from the free throw line. They would finish with a 41.4 percent field-goal percentage after shooting 57.7 perecent in the second half. Fresno State outrebounded the Warriors 48-31.
Despite the offensive struggles, the defense kept them in the game. The Warriors took a 21-20 lead with 5:31 to play before halftime thanks to an Ibewiro layup from a breakaway after the Bulldogs turned the ball over.
However, that defensive pressure seemed to let up, and Fresno State went on an 11-0 run to close the first half with a 31-21 lead. The problems seen by the Warriors in their exhibitions against Stanford and University of Pacific seemed well under control at halftime, as the turnovers for both teams were even at nine apiece and the rebound margin was only 26-21 in favor of Fresno State.
The regular season begins at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 when the Warriors visit the Academy of Art in San Francisco. The first home game of the season will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 when the Warriors host William Jessup University.