San Jose, Calif. --- The end result was an 18-point, 74-56 loss, but the San José State men's basketball team hung tough Saturday night with the Mountain West's top-team in #25-ranked San Diego State.
Rashad Muhammad and Darryl Gaynor, II combined for 30 first-half points to keep the Spartans (2-24, 0-14 MW) step-for-step with the Aztecs (22-6, 12-3 MW). After trailing 11-5 early on, Muhammad and Gaynor each buried a three-ball, and Jaleel Williams poured in another as part of a 16-3 run which turned the tables to give SJSU the 21-14 advantage.
"We did a great job against their pressure," said Spartans' head coach Dave Wojcik. "Guys were making shots. Darryl and Rashad made a couple for us. Jaleel hit some for us, and I'm really proud of the way our guys competed tonight."
The first half was San Diego State's best of the season shooting-wise at 63 percent. Dwayne Polee, II, who made a return after missing 15 games following his collapse on the court earlier this season, was a part of it.
His three with 3:14 remaining gave SDSU the lead back, 28-27, and Trey Kell added to that with a three of his own which pushed the lead to four.
However Gaynor was unfazed, and knocked down his third from downtown to set the stage for the shot of the night.
San José State inbounded the ball with three seconds left to Muhammad, who threw up a sideways heave from beyond half court that ripped chord at the buzzer, sending the Spartans into the locker room with a 36-35 halftime lead.
The shot was also significant because it vaulted Muhammad into fifth all-time in the SJSU record book with 123 made three-point baskets, passing Tito Addison.
"I knew it was going in," Muhammad said. "I had this weird feeling, and I even told Brandon before he inbounded it to give me the ball."
Muhammad hit his first three-point shot out of the break which gave SJSU a four-point lead. But from there, San Diego State took the lead back, and slowly grew it to 15 points over the next 10 minutes.
"Down the stretch we started to get tired," Gaynor said. "We couldn't give Rashad a break because he was playing so well. We were all getting tired, but we just had to stick with it."
Muhammad finished with a season-high 27 points, one away from a career-best. Gaynor added 23 points, one off the mark of his season-high.
Winston Shepard scored 20 to lead the Aztecs. JJ O'Brien and Kell joined Shepard in double-figures with 15 points and 12 points respectively.
"A game against San Diego State always adds a little juice to it, and there was a heck of a crowd out there tonight," said Wojcik. "It's amazing how much it energizes our guys when the students come out and we have a heck of a crowd like that."
San José State will head out on the road next week for two games. First, at Colorado State on Wednesday February 25, before visiting Nevada on Saturday February 28.
Newspaper Box Score
San Diego State vs San Jose State
2/21/15 7:00 PM at The Event Center
At The Event Center
SAN DIEGO STATE 74, SAN JOSE STATE 56
SAN DIEGO STATE (22-6, 12-3 MW)
SHEPARD, Winston 6-11 7-9 20; O'BRIEN, JJ 7-9 1-4 15; KELL, Trey 5-8 1-3 12;
QUINN, Aqeel 3-5 1-2 7; POPE, Malik 2-3 3-5 7; ALLEN, Dakarai 2-3 1-1 5;
SPENCER, Skylar 2-2 0-0 4; POLEE II, Dwayne 1-2 0-0 3; CHOL, Angelo 0-2 1-4
1; SHRIGLEY, Matt 0-1 0-0 0; WILLIAMS, D'Erryl 0-1 0-0 0; ZABO, Kevin 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 28-47 15-28 74.
SAN JOSE STATE (2-24, 0-14 MW)
Muhammad, Rashad 8-14 6-7 27; Gaynor II, Darryl 9-19 1-2 23; WILLIAMS,
Jaleel 2-5 0-0 6; Mahoney, Danny 0-0 0-0 0; Thornton, Isaac 0-3 0-0 0;
Singer, Ryan 0-0 0-0 0; Basor, Ivo 0-2 0-0 0; Mitchell, Brandon 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 19-43 7-9 56.
San Diego State............... 35 39 - 74
San Jose State................ 36 20 - 56
3-point goals--San Diego State 3-10 (POLEE II, Dwayne 1-2; KELL, Trey 1-2;
SHEPARD, Winston 1-2; POPE, Malik 0-1; ALLEN, Dakarai 0-1; SHRIGLEY, Matt
0-1; QUINN, Aqeel 0-1), San Jose State 11-23 (Muhammad, Rashad 5-8; GAYNOR
II, Darryl 4-9; Williams, Jaleel 2-4; Basor, Ivo 0-2). Fouled out--San Diego
State-None, San Jose State-WILLIAMS, Jaleel. Rebounds--San Diego State 31
(O'BRIEN, JJ 6; SHEPARD, Winston 6), San Jose State 22 (Mitchell, Brandon
5). Assists--San Diego State 14 (QUINN, Aqeel 3; POPE, Malik 3), San Jose
State 6 (Gaynor II, Darryl 4). Total fouls--San Diego State 12, San Jose
State 20. Technical fouls--San Diego State-TEAM, San Jose State-None. A-3477