Men's Basketball At Denver Thursday Night

Next Game: Thurs., Jan. 17 Denver (9-7, 5-1) Denver, Colo. 7:00 p.m. MST KSJS 90.5 FM
SPARTANS ON THE ROAD AGAIN:  San Jose State plays the second of three road games this Thursday night at Denver.  The Spartans played at Utah State last Friday night and travel to New Mexico State on Saturday.  Thursday is the first of two meetings between the two teams in the next four weeks.  The Pioneers come to San Jose on February 16. San Jose State enters the game with a 9-7 overall record and a 3-2 conference record and is tied with UT Arlington for fifth place in the WAC standings.  The Spartans lost at Utah State, 66-60, this past Friday night.  D.J. Brown scored 16 points to lead a trio who scored in double figures for the Spartans.
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.
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.  
SPARTANS MOURN LEGEND:  Walt McPherson, an immensely talented multi-sport athlete, the winningest coach in San Jose State basketball history and a Legend in the University's Sports Hall of Fame died on January 12 at age 96 in Santa Rosa. Mr. McPherson was a 1939 San Jose State graduate that enrolled at the College in 1934. He earned eight varsity letters - three each in baseball and football and two in basketball. He was a fullback for the 1936 through 1938 Spartan teams. Upon graduation, he was named to the San Jose State coaching staff. In a 20-year coaching career, Mr. McPherson was regarded as a sound tactician, a builder of character with high moral and ethical standards, and, above all, one of college sports great gentlemen. Mr. McPherson was the head coach of the men's basketball, baseball and men's golf teams and an assistant football coach.  He was an assistant football coach for the 1941 Spartans, but was not with the team in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7. In his 17 seasons as the men's basketball coach, the Spartans had a win-loss record of 264-208. San Jose State advanced to the third round of the 1948 NAIA national championship, the second of 1949 NAIA national championship and the 1951 NCAA Western Regionals. The Spartans were the first West Coast member at-large to participate in an NCAA Tournament. Mr. McPherson is the only San Jose State men's basketball coach to direct three Spartan teams to 20-win seasons (1948, 1949, 1950). His players included All-Americans Stu Inman and Carroll Williams, who coached at San Jose State and Santa Clara, respectively; Bobby Crowe, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters; Jack Avina, who was the head coach at the University of Portland; and San Francisco 49ers great Billy Wilson. A member of the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame, he was accorded Legend status in 2002. In December 2003, The Event Center basketball floor, home for the San Jose State men's and women's basketball teams, was renamed Walt McPherson Court. Mr. McPherson was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. A moment of silence will be observed for Mr. McPherson when the Spartans return to The Event Center on January 24.
ABOUT DENVER:  The Pioneers enter Thursday night’s game with a 9-7 overall record and 5-1 WAC mark.  The team has won five consecutive WAC games including a 55-49 win at Idaho last Thursday and a 64-51 win at Seattle U on Saturday. Head coach Joe Scott is in his sixth season at the helm of the Pioneer program.  He has an 89-81 coaching record.  Three players average double-figure points, led by Royce O’Neale at 12.8 per game.  He also leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game.  Chris Udofia averages 12.1 points per game, while Chase Hallam averages 10.1 points per game. Denver leads the overall series, 2-0, with wins on Dec. 5, 1959, 64-57, and on December 7, 1971, 69-66, both home games for the Pioneers.  The Spartans have never faced Denver in San Jose.
SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH:  George Nessman is in his eighth season as head coach at San Jose State.  He has an 86-148 record in eight seasons.
LAST TIME OUT: Three Spartans starters scored in double figures but Utah State made 17-of-their-21 free throws in the second half as San Jose State fell 66-60. D.J. Brown led the Spartan scorers with 16 points, while Chris Cunningham scored 15, points grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a season-high four assists.  Xavier Jones, making his first start in a Spartan uniform, scored 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting and had two assists and a steal in 35 minutes of action. San Jose State committed just six turnovers in the game but got to the line just 14 times in the game, compared to 25 for the Aggies.  The Spartans also shot just 35.9 percent from the field, making just 23-of-64 attempts.
NATIONAL RANKINGS:  As of games through Jan. 13, three Spartans rank in the top-75 in six categories.  James Kinney is 13th in scoring at 20.6 points per game and 17th in steals at 2.43 pg.  Chris Cunningham is tied for 45th in rebounds at 9.1 per game and tied for 51st in double-doubles with 5.  Alex Brown is tied for 30th in blocked shots at 2.44 per game. As a team, the Spartans are 61st in field-goal percentage defense at 39.7 percent, 71st in rebound margin at 4.6, and 97th in blocked shots at 4.2 per game.
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.
STARTING LINEUPS:  The Spartans have used four starting lineups this season.  The most recent lineup included D.J. Brown, Xavier Jones, LaVanne Pennington, Chris Cunningham and Alex Brown.  The previous six games featured D.J. Brown, James Kinney, Louis Garrett, 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.
CUNNINGHAM CLEANING THE GLASS:  Chris Cunningham leads the team with 145 rebounds and averages 9.1 per game, tying for 45th 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.
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 seven games on the road, the Spartans average 70.3 points per game and shoot 44.9 percent from the field (181-403), 32.7 percent from three-point range (34-104) and 70.1 percent from the free throw line (96-137).
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 4.5 rebounds per game.  
SINGLE-DIGIT TURNOVERS:  In three of the previous four games, San Jose State has committed nine or fewer turnovers in a game.  Against Idaho on January 3, the Spartans had a season-low five turnovers.  Then against New Orleans on January 8, San Jose State had nine turnovers.  In last Friday’s game at Utah State, the Spartans has just six turnovers.
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 74 assists on the season, 4.6 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 67 blocks, surpassing last year’s total of 38 blocks in 31 games, and has had at least one block 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 39 blocks and has had at least one in all 16 games.  The individual season record is 62 set by Gerald Thomas in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.
2013 WAC TOURNAMENT:  The 2013 WAC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 12 and 14-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  All 10 team advance to the tournament, with teams 7-10 playing on the 12th, and the eight remaining teams in the tournament playing on the 14th.  The championship game will be shown live on ESPNU on the 16th at 8 p.m. PST.
UP NEXT:  San Jose State continues on the road with a game at New Mexico State Saturday night at 7 p.m. MST.  The game will be shown on AggieVision and available on ESPN3.com.
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