Reno, Nev. --- As thin as the San José State men's basketball roster has been for most of the year, it wasn't until Saturday afternoon at Nevada that the team suffered significantly from foul trouble.
Rashad Muhammad only played four minutes in the first half for the Spartans, and the Wolf Pack used 47 foul shots to hand San José State a 62-51 loss in Mountain West play at the Lawlor Event Center.
"It's really hard to beat a team when they go to the line 47 times and you go 15," said Spartans' head coach Dave Wojcik. "They scored 34 points there, and that's outscoring us by 24 points just at the free throw line. It was the most difficult game as far as foul trouble goes that we've had all year."
While the free throw disparity is the glaring stat in the box score, the Spartans were also outrebounded 43-28 and made critical turnovers during crunch time.
Brandon Mitchell knocked down a three to pull San José State to within three, 54-51 with 4:02 left to play. On the next trip down after a Nevada miss, it was Mitchell who caught a pass with his foot on the sideline out of bounds stripe.
Then, SJSU came out of a timeout with the ball, down 56-51 with 1:45 remaining, and Darryl Gaynor II passed the ball directly into the hands of Nevada's D.J. Fenner, who took it the other way for a transition dunk.
"You just can't do that," Wojcik said. "Those are crucial turnovers and you can't do that in a game, let alone the last three minutes of one."
In Muhammad's absence during the first period, Jaleel Williams put the team on his back. He hit a season-high five shots from beyond the arc on the way to 19 first-half points.
The Spartans built an early 11-point lead, only to see it disappear with under three minutes to go after Nevada went on a 12-3 run. One of Williams' threes and a couple of free throws by Isaac Thornton gave SJSU the 31-30 lead at the break.
A sluggish start to the second half allowed the Wolf Pack to regain the lead once more at the 17:40 mark. The Spartans would never see the lead again, although they never trailed by more than eight until the final five seconds of the contest.
Nevada's leading scorer A.J. West missed his first four free throw attempts of the game, badly. But he made up for it by making 13 of his next 16 and led the Wolf Pack with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Tyron Criswell also had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
After Williams' brilliance in the first half, he scored two points in the final 20 minutes. Yet, his 21 points led the team, and he has now scored 20 or more in three of the last four games.
Muhammad scored six points in 19 minutes of action, breaking his streak of 12 consecutive games in double-figure scoring. Brandon Mitchell scored 10 points, and Isaac Thornton contributed 9 points, five assists and four rebounds.
San José State has two games remaining this season, a final home stand next week which includes matchups against Boise State on Wednesday and UNLV on Saturday. Tickets for the final two games of the year can be purchased by calling the Spartan Ticket Office at 408-924-7589.
Newspaper Box Score
San Jose State vs Nevada
02/28/15 3:05 p.m. at Reno, Nevada (Lawlor Events Center)
At Reno, Nevada (Lawlor Events Center)
NEVADA 62, SAN JOSE STATE 51
SAN JOSE STATE (2-26 (0-16 MW))
Williams, Jaleel 7-12 2-3 21; Mitchell, Brandon 2-7 5-6 10; Thornton, Isaac
2-4 3-5 9; Muhammad, Rashad 3-12 0-1 6; Mahoney, Danny 1-6 0-0 3; GAYNOR II,
Darryl 1-10 0-0 2; Singer, Ryan 0-0 0-0 0; Basor, Ivo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals
16-51 10-15 51.
NEVADA (9-19 (5-11 MW))
WEST, AJ 2-4 13-20 17; CRISWELL, Tyron 6-13 3-4 15; FENNER, D.J. 2-6 9-10
13; COOPER, Eric Jr. 2-7 5-6 9; COLEMAN, Marqueze 1-2 2-2 4; PEREZ, Michael
1-5 1-2 3; STIVRINS, Lucas 0-1 1-2 1; MISSA, Robyn 0-1 0-0 0; FOSTER, Elijah
0-2 0-0 0; RODRIGUEZ, Kaileb 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 14-42 34-47 62.
San Jose State................ 31 20 - 51
Nevada........................ 30 32 - 62
3-point goals--San Jose State 9-30 (Williams, Jaleel 5-10; Thornton, Isaac
2-3; Mitchell, Brandon 1-2; Mahoney, Danny 1-6; Gaynor II, Darryl 0-5;
Muhammad, Rashad 0-4), Nevada 0-8 (; CRISWELL, Tyron 0-3; COOPER, Eric Jr.
0-3; PEREZ, Michael 0-2). Fouled out--San Jose State-BASOR, Ivo; SINGER,
Ryan, Nevada-None. Rebounds--San Jose State 28 (Mitchell, Brandon 8), Nevada
43 (CRISWELL, Tyron 11). Assists--San Jose State 11 (Thornton, Isaac 5),
Nevada 6 (COOPER, Eric Jr. 3). Total fouls--San Jose State 28, Nevada 17.
Technical fouls--San Jose State-MUHAMMAD, Rashad, Nevada-None. A-5325