SAN DIEGO (AP) — The young, inexperienced San Diego Toreros let another big lead slip away.
This time they got away with it, though, after perking up in overtime to beat the Fresno State Bulldogs 72-66 for their first win of the season.
Joey Calcaterra scored six of his team-high 21 points in OT for the Toreros. Braun Hartfield made two big shots in overtime and Alex Floresca added a three-play play for the Toreros (1-2) of the West Coast Conference. USD led by 13 points early in the second half before Fresno State fought back to force overtime.
The Toreros led UC Irvine by 18 points in their season opener on Nov. 5 before losing 76-73.
"I just think we did a good job of learning from our past two games, especially the Irvine game we had here at home, where we had a big lead in the first half and it kind of slipped away in the second half," Calcaterra said. "We did a good job of just sticking to it, even though they did come back and went to overtime. We just kept fighting and I knew we couldn't give another game like that away, so just fought to the end."
Hartfield and Marion Humphrey had 17 points apiece while James Jean-Marie added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Toreros, who made it to the NIT last year before losing at Memphis.
Jarred Hyder scored 23 for Fresno State (1-2) of the Mountain West Conference. Orlando Robinson had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Nate Grimes 10 points and 12 rebounds.
All six of Calcaterra's points in overtime were on free throws.
"Some of our guys' shots weren't falling, including mine, so we just knew that we had to do it on the defensive end and the defense was going to win us the game," he said.
"It's good, it's a sign of some growing up for this inexperienced group," coach Sam Scholl said. "I don't think we took a huge step forward but we took a small one and that's good. That's all we wanted. We want to be better each day, and I think we were a little better today.
"Guys stepped up and made some plays. Total team effort."
Calcaterra scored six points during an 11-0 run in the first half that put the Toreros in control. He added four points during an 8-1 run that opened the second half and extended USD's lead to 42-29.
Fresno State responded with an 8-0 run, led by Hyder's four points, to pull within five points. Grimes and Hyder hit 3-pointers to keep the Bulldogs close. Robinson made two free throws with 2:26 left to tie it at 53. With the score 55-all, Anthony Holland stole a pass from James Jean-Marie and Fresno State set up for the last shot, but Hyder missed a runner along the baseline just before the buzzer.
"Very inconsistent in the first half. Proud that we tried to fight back in the second half; just didn't make enough plays," Fresno State coach Justin Hutson said.
Fresno State: The Bulldogs looked good early before struggling with their shooting. They finished hitting just 35.9 percent of their field goals. They'll be back in San Diego for a New Year's Day matinee against the Aztecs in MWC play.
USD: The Toreros lost four starters and 72 percent of their scoring from last year's team. Their only returning starter, Yauhen Massalski, had surgery on his left foot Friday.
Fresno State hosts Division II Cal State San Bernardino on Sunday.
San Diego is at Weber State on Thursday night.
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