|Spartans On To WAC Semis!|
Las Vegas, Nev.-----Adrian Oliver and Keith Shamburger each scored 28 points as San Jose State University defeated the University of Idaho, 74-68, to advance to the semifinal round of the 2011 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) men’s basketball tournament.
Oliver, the nation’s third leading scorer at 24.5 points a game, and Shamburger, a freshman, each hit six three-point baskets as the Spartans (17-14) converted a season-high 13 three-pointers out of 23 attempts.
For the 5-foot-11 Shamburger, it was a season scoring high. For the 6-foot-4 Oliver, he set the single-season San Jose State scoring record with 713 eclipsing the previous record of 702 points set by the late Ricky Berry in 1988.
“You saw what Keith Shamburger’s about today,” said San Jose State coach George Nessman about the highest scoring freshman in school history.
Spartans will play top-seeded and 23rd-ranked Utah State (28-3), Friday, March 11, at 6:00 p.m.
in their first WAC Tournament semifinals appearance since San Jose State joined the
conference in 1996. The Spartans' 17 wins are the most in a season since the 1981 team finished 21-9 and played in the NIT.
Even with the offensive firepower, it was San Jose State’s defense down the stretch that proved decisive. Idaho (18-13) committed three turnovers and missed its final four shots in the last three minutes of the game. Justin Graham came up with a pair of his four steals in the game and his first led to an uncontested lay-up by Shamburger that gave the Spartans a 70-68 lead with 1:52 to go and end a 4:21 San Jose State scoring drought.
“That was the pivotal play down the stretch,” said Nessman.
Shamburger and Oliver each converted a 1-and-1 free throw situation in the final 31.3 seconds for the game’s final points.
“The first half I started out good and I just carried it on to the second half,” said Shamburger, who was 9-of-14 from the field and 6-of-9 from three-point range.
In a game of surges that had 12 lead changes, San Jose State never relinquished the lead after Oliver’s first three-pointer of the second half giving the Spartans a 45-44 advantage. The eighth-seed San Jose State built the largest lead of the game, 61-52 with 9:26 to go, before Idaho battled back to tie the game at 68-68 with 3:01 remaining.
Idaho held a 36-34 halftime lead on some strong inside play by forwards Brandon Wiley who finished with 10 points and Luiz Toledo who scored 12. Guard Jeff Ledbetter led the Vandals with 21 points, including three of his five three-point baskets during Idaho’s second-half rally to tie the score.
“I was real happy with our composure and discipline throughout the game. Obviously, we made a bunch of three’s. We’re clearly capable of that. We have three, really four guards who can shoot the ball,” said Nessman.
“I thought we left them open a couple of times early on, but they hit some tough shots, too. That’s what makes them so dangerous. We knew going in that they were a scary team and could really score. That what they did,” said Idaho coach Don Verlin.
San Jose State out-rebounded Idaho, 35-32. The Spartans’ Wil Carter led all players with 11 – his 11th double-figure rebounding game of the season. San Jose State committed just nine turnovers – the fifth game in a row with 10 or fewer turnovers.
SAN JOSE STATE 74, IDAHO 68
SAN JOSE STATE (17-14)
San Jose State................ 34 40 - 74
3-point goals--San Jose State 13-23 (Oliver, Adrian 6-10; Shamburger, Keith 6-9; Douglas, Calvin 1-2; Graham, Justin 0-2), Idaho 7-21 (Ledbetter, Jeff 5-10; Henderson, Shawn 2-7; Madison, Stephen 0-1; Geiger, Deremy 0-3).