San Jose, Calif.----- Brandon Clarke scored a game-high 22 points, 16 of them in the second half, leading San José State to a 76-71 win over San Diego State in a Mountain West men's basketball game.
Clarke was 11-of-15 from the field as the Spartans won their third conference game in a row for the first time since the 2011 season when San Jose State (12-10, 5-6 Mountain West) was a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
It's the first win against San Diego State in eight tries dating back to 1999 and the first with both schools as Mountain West members.
Brown, a freshman from Hayward, Calif., had scored in double figures just twice in the first 13 games he played.
The Spartans shook off an ice-cold start where they missed the first 10 shots. It was Clarke who broke through for the first basket at the 14:34 mark to make it 9-4 SDSU lead.
Brown scored five straight points on a three and a pair of free throws which tied the game, 11-11, with 11:23 left in the opening half. Then Clarke, the MW's leading scorer during league play (22.7 ppg), took a lob from Welage and slammed it down to give the Spartans their first lead, 23-22, with 5:43 left.
The lead would never be relinquished as Clarke hit 8-of-9 from the field in the final 20 minutes. Jaycee Hillsman buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to give SJSU its first double-digit lead of 11 with 16:55 to go in the second half.
Matt Shrigley's trey followed by a Zyan Cheatham dunk cut the Spartans' lead to 46-43 at the 13:44 mark. But there were Clarke and Hillsman again with a jam and a three fueling a 7-0 run which built the lead right back to 10.
San Jose State led by as many as 12 points, 63-51 with 5:06 to go after Clarke collected a rebound and went the length of the floor for a dunk.
The Aztecs threatened once more in the final seconds when Malik Pope nailed an NBA-range three which made it 74-71 with 20 seconds remaining. But Isaac Thornton hit two free throws and Kell's desperation three with eight seconds left was off.
San Diego State (13-10, 5-6 Mountain West) also had four players score in double-figures with Kell and Jeremy Hemsley leading the way with 13 apiece. Allen had 12 and Pope finished with 10.
Though the Aztecs scored the game's first seven points, San Diego State converted just 37.3 percent of its field goal tries. It the third time in the last five games the Aztecs failed to convert 40 percent of their field goal tries.
San José State had one of its best nights at the free throw line converting 23 of 26 attempts and made nine more tries than San Diego State's 14-of-21.
The Spartans return to action Saturday, February 11, at UNLV in a 3:00 p.m. game. San Jose State began its current three-game winning streak defeating UNLV, 76-72, on January 28.
San Diego State vs San Jose State
SAN JOSE STATE 76, SAN DIEGO STATE 71
SAN DIEGO STATE (13-10, 5-6 MW)
SAN JOSE STATE (12-10, 5-6 MW)
San Diego State............... 29 42 - 71
3-point goals--San Diego State 7-24 (SHRIGLEY, Matt 2-6; POPE, Malik 2-5;