FRESNO -- For most of his career, Allen Huddleston has played off the ball. He has been a shooter and a scorer and at times this season he has been able to show off in that way.
But playing primarily at the point this season at Fresno State has not been an easy transition, and coach Rodney Terry said there are not many options there in finding a rhythm for an offense that has more scorers on the floor than a year ago but has had trouble scoring the basketball.
"We know if we slid him off the ball and freed his mind and not have the responsibilities of having to run the team every time down he could go and get some buckets for us, no doubt about that," Terry said.
"If we had a chance to do that Allen obviously could score a lot more for us and would shoot the ball better at a lot higher rate, but at this point right now, where we are, we need him to be a guy that facilitates our offense and initiates our offense."
The Bulldogs (5-4) get another chance to sharpen at the offensive end tonight against Colorado at the Save Mart Center, facing a Buffs team that is allowing 69.9 points per game, last in the Pac-12.
But nine games in, Fresno State has a way to go. Three times already the Bulldogs have had only three assists in a game, fewest by any team in the Mountain West Conference. They are last in the league and 339th among 345 Division I teams in assists with 8.8 per game. They are last in scoring in the MWC by almost 10 points per game, averaging 60.8 points with Wyoming ranked eighth with 70.4. They are last in field goal percentage hitting only 188 of 467 shots (.403) and have made the fewest field goals, even though four of the other eight teams in the conference have played one fewer game.
Huddleston has had a chance to play some at the two, with freshman Aaron Anderson or junior Tyler Johnson playing a few minutes at the point guard.
But Anderson, while improving, isn't ready to play extended minutes -- he is averaging 9.4 per game. Terry prefers to keep Johnson off the ball where he can use his athleticism to score and rebound, and Cezar Guerrero is sitting out the year after transferring in from Oklahoma State.
And the Bulldogs have seen enough flashes from Huddleston, who has 20 assists and 23 turnovers while leading the team with 12.2 points per game.
"Allen is the guy and you know what, Allen has really grown," Terry said. "Is there still room for growth for him? No doubt about it. We're talking about a guy that has played primarily off the ball his whole career -- high school, college. After nine games, he's had some good moments and, obviously, had some tough moments and some growing pains as well.
"But he's a guy I think that's going to be better for it, but our team is going to be better for it. A year from now, you know, we have Cezar Guerrero in the program, who is a point guard and also a guy who is a dual threat who can score the basketball and run a team as well. He's got really good ball handling and has played the point guard position before -- that's really who he is. I think it's only going to make our team and our program better."
-- The Bulldogs' next victory at the Save Mart Center will be their 100th in the building.
-- Kevin Olekaibe, who went scoreless in the loss at Washington State and has been held to fewer than 10 points in five consecutive games for the first time in his career, is just 10 points away from 1,000 at Fresno State.