Making waves in 70-63 win in SoCal


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – The Fresno State men's basketball team defeated the Pepperdine Waves 70-63 in the 2021 Venue Twin Southern California Challenge at The Pavilion at JSerra.

Isaiah Hill tied a career-high with 19 points, which included 11 made free throws, for Fresno State (4-0), who will next face Santa Clara (5-0) late Wednesday night in the tournament championship game.

In Monday night's win, which finished after midnight local time on Tuesday morning, Orlando Robinson had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in just 24 minutes on the hardwood.

How it happened: Fresno State's defense forced 20 Pepperdine turnovers, which helped counter the Waves' 54.5 percent shooting clip.

The physical contest featured six lead changes, but the Bulldogs rode the lead for most of the first half and surfed into the break up 33-27. Pepperdine opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 36-35 lead.

Fresno State's Destin Whitaker and Deon Stroud drained 3-pointers shortly thereafter on back-to-back possessions and the stage was set for a furious finish after midnight.

Trailing 52-50 with under eight minutes to play, Fresno State used an 8-0 run to take the lead for good – fending off Pepperdine down the stretch.

Notes:

Fresno State is 4-0 to start the season for the first time since the 2015-16 season when the Bulldogs opened 5-0, later won the 2016 MW Tournament and played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Fresno State's Orlando Robinson has now scored in double figures in a career-best 13 consecutive games and the most by a Bulldog since Deshon Taylor in 2018.

The 20 forced turnovers by Fresno State were the most in a game since 2017 (Nov. 30, 2017 versus Weber State).

Fresno State is one of 48 remaining unbeaten teams in the nation.

Fresno State is now 6-0 in the last two years when committing 10 or fewer turnovers in a game.

Fresno State improved to 33-6 when recording a better assist-to-turnover ratio than its opponent (12 straight wins).

The win was the 50th victory in head coach Justin Hutson’s tenure at Fresno State (2018-present).

Up Next: Fresno State will face Santa Clara on Wednesday at 10 p.m. PT, also in San Juan Capistrano to wrap up play in the SoCal Challenge.