FRESNO, Calif. - Sophomore Mychal Ladd erupted for 22 points, with 17 in the first six minutes of the game, to propel the Fresno State men's basketball team to a 78-67 victory over Fresno Pacific University on Wednesday night in the Save Mart Center.
"Mike shot the ball very well tonight and we played 30 minutes of really good basketball," head coach Steve Cleveland said of his fifth exhibition win against the crosstown in each of his five seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs. "We rebounded the ball well all night and I liked the number of assists we had. We need to finish better, but give Fresno Pacific credit for fighting to the end."
Ladd's quick start jolted Fresno State to a suffocating 24-2 lead just 5:58 into the game, which he credited to the hard work of his team in the offseason and taking advantage of open looks.
"We did a lot of conditioning," Ladd said of the preparation for the season. "We tried to work on our defense. We've been lifting weights and put up a lot of shots."
The Bulldogs led 45-25 at halftime with a 54.8 percent first-half clip from the field and outrebounded the Sunbirds 23-13 in the opening session.
On the night, four Bulldogs reached double figures as a pair of 2009 Preseason All-WAC honorees Paul George and Sylvester Seay netted 13 points each while freshman center Greg Smith scored 12 points in his collegiate exhibition debut. Sophomore combo guard Brandon Sperling pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds as the Dogs finished with a 46-31 edge over FPU on the boards.
Fresno State opens the regular season next Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. against the San Francisco State Gators.