Marvelle Harris netted 20 points to lead the Fresno State Bulldogs to a 71-64 decision over the Old Dominion Monarchs in the semifinals of the 2014 College Basketball Invitational at the Save Mart Center.
Paul Watson chipped in 15 points and Cezar Guerrero scored 14 points for Fresno State (20-16). Tyler Johnson made his mark with 13 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs, who now advance to the CBI Championship Series to take on Siena. The best-of-three final series begins next Monday.
Dimitri Batten paced the Monarchs (18-18) with 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the floor. Denzell Taylor added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Keenan Palmore tallied 11 points and four assists. With the loss, ODU concluded its first-ever campaign as a member of the Conference USA with an 18-18 overall record after going 5-25 in 2012-13 during its final season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 11 on two occasions in the opening period before going into the intermission with a 35-31 advantage on the scoreboard. FSU shot an even 50 percent from the floor and limited the Monarchs to 42.9 percent efficiency from the field in the first half.
ODU continued to struggle as it made good on only 35.1 percent of its field goal tries, including a 2-of-13 clip from 3-point range in the second stanza. The Bulldogs converted 19-of-23 attempts at the charity stripe to extend their lead over the final 20 minutes of play.
Despite the loss, the Monarchs outscored the hosts, 38-20, in the paint and finished with a 36-27 edge in total rebounds. FSU drained 27-of-34 attempts at the free-throw line compared to ODU's 8-of-12 shooting at the charity stripe.