Men's Basketball At WAC Leader Utah State Friday

Next Game: Fri., Jan. 11 Utah State (13-1, 4-0) Logan, Utah 7:05 p.m. MST KSJS 90.5 FM/ESPN3.com
SPARTANS ON THE ROAD TO FACE WAC LEADER:  San Jose State plays the first of three consecutive road games this Friday with a Western Athletic Conference game at Utah State.  The Aggies sit atop the WAC standings with a 4-0 record and are one of two teams with a perfect WAC mark (Louisiana Tech, 3-0). San Jose State enters the game with a 9-6 overall record and a 3-1 conference record and is tied with Denver for third place in the WAC standings.  San Jose State brings a two-game winning streak to Logan after defeating Seattle U and New Orleans the past five days.
LIVE STATS:  All games will have live stats available on the Spartan website at www.SJSUSpartans.com and go to “Live Stats.” 
RADIO COVERAGE:  Thursday’s game will be broadcast on KSJS 90.5 FM, with Justin Allegri on the call.  The pregame show will start 15 minutes prior to tip.
TV COVERAGE:  The Utah State game will be shown locally in Logan on KMYU-TV.  Spartan fans can watch the coverage on ESPN3.com.
FACEBOOK/TWITTER:  Follow the Spartan men’s basketball team and all San Jose State athletics teams on the web.  Join the official SJSU Spartans page on Facebook and read the latest tweets on Twitter @SJSUAthletics.  
ABOUT UTAH STATE:  The Aggies enter Friday night’s game with a 13-1 overall record and 4-0 WAC mark.  The team has won 12 consecutive games, the sixth-longest in the country, after falling to Saint Mary’s, 67-58, on November 15.  The team defeated Seattle U, 75-66, and Idaho, 82-75 in overtime, last week. Head coach Stew Morrill is in his 27th season as a collegiate head coach and has a 576-258 record.  He is in his 15th season at Utah State with a 358-120 record. The Spartans will face the WAC’s Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.  Junior guard Preson Medlin won this week’s honor after leading his team to a 3-0 record last week and averaged 20.3 points, 43 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.  Medlin hit a three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left to send the Idaho game to overtime.  For the season, he is the team’s leading scorer at 15.8 points per game and has dished out 45 assists.  Jarred Shaw leads the Aggies with 120 rebounds, 8.6 per game, averages 12.7 points per game.  Kyisean Reed  averages 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and has team-bests of 25 steals and 24 blocks. Utah State leads the overall series, 49-21, and has won the past 10 games and 21 consecutive games in Logan.  The Spartans last won a game in the series during the 2007-08 season with a 70-67 win at The Event Center on February 18, 2008.  Chris Oakes led the Spartans with 21 points and 12 rebounds.  San Jose State’s last win in Logan came during the 1981-82 season at 55-47, on February 25, 1982.
SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH:  George Nessman is in his eighth season as head coach at San Jose State.  He has an 86-147 record in eight seasons.
LAST TIME OUT: Four Spartan starters scored in double figures as San Jose State won its final non-conference game Tuesday night over New Orleans, 71-64. Louis Garrett led the quartet with 14 points, followed by Alex Brown and D.J. Brown each with 13 points and Chris Cunningham with 11 points.  Fifth-starter James Kinney scored nine points, failing for the first time this season to reach double-digits in points.  Kinney did have six assists and three steals.
BEST START TO WAC SEASON:  San Jose State is off to its best start in WAC play since joining the conference in 1996-97.  Prior to starting this year 3-1, the best start was the 1998-99 season when San Jose State opened the WAC season with a 2-1 record with a win over Fresno State (91-64), loss to #16 New Mexico (82-81 OT) and win over UTEP (64-63 OT), all at home. The last time San Jose State went 4-1 to start a conference season was 1987-88, when the Spartans played in the Big West Conference under head coach Bill Berry.  That season, the Spartans started with wins at Fresno State (69-67) and Pacific (79-74) before falling to New Mexico State at home (76-65).  The team then rebounded with a home win against Long Beach State (80-79) and at UC Santa Barbara (67-61). The last three-game WAC winning streak for San Jose State came during the 2009-10 season when San Jose State defeated Louisiana Tech (87-76), New Mexico State (93-84) and Hawaii (83-60) during a stretch of home games in January 2010.
WAC OPENERS:  For the third consecutive year, the Spartans opened the WAC season on the road.  This year, the team started with a 72-55 win at Texas State.  In 2012, the team lost at Hawaii, 82-69, on January 7.  The 2010-11 season found San Jose State opening the WAC schedule at Fresno State with a loss, 75-62, on December 29.  
WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK - DEC. 10:  James Kinney was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his performances in wins over UC Davis and Sacramento State.  He scored 27 points with five rebounds, four steals and two assists in a 73-64 road win at UC Davis. He followed up that effort with a 20-point, six-rebound performance in a 62-57 win at home against Sacramento State.  For the week, Kinney averaged 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game. He shot 42.9 percent (18-of-42) from the field, 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from three-point range, and 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from the free throw line.
NATIONAL RANKINGS:  As of games through Jan. 6, three Spartans rank in the top-75 in six categories.  James Kinney is eighth in scoring at 21.5 points per game, 25th in steals at 2.38 per game and 57th in three-point field goals per game at 2.62.  Chris Cunningham is tied for 41st in rebounds at 9.1 per game and tied for 35th in double-doubles with 5.  Alex Brown is tied for 22nd in blocked shots at 2.57 per game. As a team, the Spartans are 42nd in rebound margin at 6.2, 71st in field-goal percentage defense at 39.6 and blocked shots per game at 4.4.
FOUR STARTERS IN DOUBLE FIGURES, NONE NAMED KINNEY:  For the first time this season, four of the five Spartan starters scored in double figures in the win over New Orleans.  What makes this note even more unique is that none of the players in double figures were named James Kinney.  It was the first time this season that Kinney did not score 12 or more points.  Louis Garrett led the team with 14 points, followed by Alex Brown and D.J. Brown each with 13 points and Chris Cunningham with 11 points.
GARRETT MAKING MOST OF HIS STARTS:  After joining the starting lineup full-time against James Madison, Louis Garrett is proving offensively why he should be there.  In the seven games he has started this season, Garrett is averaging 10.3 points.  He scored a season-best 21 points in a win over Seattle U and led the team in scoring with 16 points at Texas State and 14 points against New Orleans.  Garrett is shooting 54 percent from the field in those seven games (27-50).  In the seven games he did not start, Garrett averaged just 4.0 points and shot 37.5 percent from the field.
HOME, SWEET HOME?: Teams usually shoot better at home because they are familiar with their surroundings.  Instead, San Jose State is shooting better on the road this season than at home.  In eight games at home, the team is averaging 69.4 points per game and shooting 38.6 percent from the field (195-504), 33.3 percent from three-point range (46-138) and 66.5 percent at the line (119-179).  In six games on the road, the Spartans average 72.0 points per game and shoot 46.6 percent from the field (158-339), 34.4 percent from three-point range (32-93) and 68.3 percent from the free throw line (84-123).
WINNING STREAK:  The Spartans had a three-game winning streak in early December, the longest for the program since the 2010-11 season.  That year, the team won four straight home games in the middle of February - Montana State (77-73), Weber State (62-46), New Mexico State (72-70 OT) and Louisiana Tech (72-60).
WIPING THE GLASS CLEAN:  The Spartans grabbed a season-high 59 rebounds in the win over Sacramento State.  The team outrebounded the Hornets, 59-34. Chris Cunningham led the team with 17 boards including 10 offensive rebounds.  Nine of the 10 players who saw action had at least one rebound. This season San Jose State has outrebounded their opponents by an average of 4.9 rebounds per game.  They have been outrebounded in three games - Weber State (34-39), Seattle U (35-39) and New Orleans (39-52).
SEASON-LOW TURNOVERS:  The Spartans committed a season-low five turnovers in a loss to Idaho last Thursday night.  It is the only game this season that San Jose State has committed single-digit turnovers.  The previous low was 10 turnovers in loss to James Madison at Las Vegas.  
DISHING OUT THE ROCK:  D.J. Brown came within one assist of tying the San Jose State Event Center record when he recorded 11 assists in a win over Seattle U.  He dished out assists to four different players in the game - James Kinney (4), Louis Garrett (3), Chris Cunningham (2) and LaVanne Pennington (2). Brown leads the Spartans with 72 assists on the season, 4.8 per game.  He previous high was nine assists at Montana State and Sacramento State.
MORE BLOCKS THIS YEAR: San Jose State’s added height is paying dividends this season, especially defensively.  The team has recorded 66 blocks, surpassing last year’s total of 38 blocks in 31 games, and has at least two blocked shots in every game.  The 2010-11 team had 82 blocks.  The season school record for blocks is 106 blocks in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.   Individually, Alex Brown leads the team with 38 blocks and has had at least one in all 15 games.  The individual season record is 62 set by Gerald Thomas in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.
STARTING LINEUPS:  The Spartans have used three starting lineups this season.  The past six games, the lineup has been D.J. Brown, James Kinney, Louis Garrett, Chris Cunningham and Alex Brown. This lineup was also used at Montana State, and the team is 5-2 with these starters.  Chris Jones started eight of the first nine games this season.  The lineup against James Madison featured D.J. Brown, LaVanne Pennington (making his first start), Garrett, Cunningham and Alex Brown.
PENNINGTON MADE MOST OF FIRST START: Senior guard LaVanne Pennington started his first game of the season against James Madison and led the team in scoring with a career-best 16 points, including 3-for-7 from three-point range and 3-of-3 from the free thow line. Pennington played just 26 minutes as a leg cramp kept him out of the final eight minutes of the game. Pennington is averaging 7.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game coming off the bench.  He scored 16 points at UTSA where he was 4-for-7 from three-point range.  Pennington added 13 points at New Orleans and 11 points at Montana State.
CUNNINGHAM CLEANING THE GLASS:  Chris Cunningham leads the team with 137 rebounds and averages 9.1 per game, tying for 41st in the country.  He had five consecutive games with double-digit rebounds - 18 against UC Santa Cruz , 11 at #10 Kansas, 10 at Montana State and at UC Davis and 17 against Sacramento State. Cunningham grabbed 10 offensive rebounds against the Hornets, six offensive rebounds at UC Davis and five offensive rebounds against UC Santa Cruz and Kansas.
TWO SHOOTERS, 20+POINTS EACH:  For the first time this season, two Spartan players scored 20 or more points in a game.  Against Seattle U, James Kinney led all scorers with 26 points, while Louis Garrett scored a season-best 21 points.  Each player was 3-for-6 from three-point range and made seven field goals a piece.  Garrett was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line, and Kinney was 9-of-12 from the charity stripe. Last year, the Spartans had two games with two players scoring 20+points in a game - Hawaii (H), Wil Carter 22 points, Kinney 21 points; Fresno State (H) Carter 23 points, Keith Shamburger 21 points.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES:  Xavier Jones and Chris Jones (no relation) each came off the bench and scored season bests of 11 points against James Madison.  Xavier was 4-for-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line in 19 minutes of action.  Chris was 4-for-9 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
BLOCKIN’ THE BALL:  Alex Brown alters shots on the court and has a team-best 33 blocks on the season.  He had a season-best five blocks against Weber State and has blocked a least one shot in every game this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES:  Two Spartans have recorded double-doubles this season.  Chris Cunningham has five double-doubles on the season as he led the Spartans with 19 points and 18 rebounds in a win over UC Santa Cruz.  He added 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win at Montana State, 12 points and 10 rebounds at UC Davis, 10 points and 17 rebounds against Sacramento State and 11 points and 14 rebounds at Texas State. James Kinney scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 36 minutes played against Houston.  The 10 rebounds are the most he has collected in his Spartan career. The Spartan season record is 13 double-doubles, set by Coby Dietrick during the 1969-70 season.
UP NEXT:  San Jose State continues on the road with two WAC games - Thursday at Denver and Saturday at New Mexico State.  Both games start at 7 p.m. MST.
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