Men's Hoops Turns Focus To Wyoming

Brandon Clarke enters Wednesday's game as the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week.
Jan. 17, 2017

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SPARTANS OPEN WEEK AT HOME WITH WYOMING
After a big win at Air Force to end the road trip, San José State men's basketball returns home to take on Wyoming on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (PT). Tickets for both Wednesday's game and Saturday's game against Boise State are on sale now at the Spartan Ticket Office, which can be reached at 408-924-7589. Both the Cowboys and Spartans come into the game with a 2-3 record in conference play and a win could boost either team into the top five of the league standings.
 
GAME #17
 
San José State (9-7, 2-3 MW) vs. Wyoming (12-6, 2-3 MW)
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
The Event Center (5,000)
San Jose, Calif.
 
RADIO: KLIV 1590 AM & KSJS 90.5 FM
 
OFF THE TOP
San José State and Wyoming split meetings last season, with each team winning on its home floor ... Wyoming has nearly 200 more 3-point attempts on the year than San José State ... Brandon Clarke enters the game as the second-leading scorer in Mountain West play at 23.6 points per game ... Wyoming has five players averaging double-digits in scoring on the year while San José State has two ... Wyoming is a near perfect 10-1 at home and 1-4 on the road ... SJSU comes in with a 6-3 record inside The Event Center.
 
CLARKE DROPS 36 IN WIN AT AIR FORCE
Brandon Clarke was the difference in the game as his career-high 36 points helped San José State defeat Air Force 89-85 on the road last Saturday. The sophomore forward added five rebounds, five assists and five blocks. He scored 19 points in the first half, and the Spartans needed them all to keep pace with an equally hot shooting Falcons team. Both squads shot over 60 percent in the opening period. Clarke finished the game 16-for-22 from the floor. Sixteen (16) made field goals is a new San José State record, and the 36 points are the most in a single-game since Adrian Oliver's 42-point effort against Puget Sound in 2010.
 
MITCHELL SKIES AND DENIES
Brandon Mitchell made the defensive play of the game at Air Force when he blocked Lavelle Scottie's potential game-tying layup with six seconds left in regulation. After the block, Mitchell also helped strip the ball from Scottie who got the offensive rebound. The play ended with a transition dunk for Brandon Clarke, which he threw down just before the final buzzer for SJSU's 89-85 win.
 
CLARKE WINS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AGAIN
Brandon Clarke won his second MW Player of the Week award after totaling 61 points in 63 minutes during two road games last week (Jan. 9-15). He shot a sizzling 73.0 percent (27-37) from the floor - all two-point baskets - raising his field goal percentage during MW play to a league-best 67.1 percent. He put in 25 points against San Diego State to begin the week. After foul trouble limited his minutes in the opening period, Clarke played every minute of the second half when the Spartans outscored the Aztecs 38-34. Clarke followed that up with 36 points, five rebounds, five assists and five blocks at Air Force. His 36 points are the most by a Mountain West player in a single game this year which ended in regulation. He jumped up to second in scoring among all players during league play at 23.6 points per game.
 
SPARTANS SHOOT OVER 60 PERCENT
San José State shot over 60 percent as a team for the first time since 2013 in the win at Air Force. Outside shooters E.J. Boyce and Cody Schwartz were feeling it, pitching in 14 points apiece on a combined 10-for-13 shooting. Both players connected on four shots from downtown on the way to their conference-season highs in points. It was an impressive outing for Schwartz who came out and knocked down three of his first four shots after an 0-for-7 performance in the previous game at San Diego State. While Boyce was raining threes most of the game, his biggest basket of the game was a layup as the shot clock expired to keep the Spartans ahead by five with under two minutes to play.
 
SERIES HISTORY WITH WYOMING
Wyoming controls the all-time series, 8-2, over San José State. The teams split games last year, each winning a game on their home floor. The contest at the end of the year in Laramie went down to the wire, but the Cowboys pulled out an 81-78 win on their star Josh Adams' senior night. San José State pulled of a 62-55 win over Wyoming earlier in the year for their first Mountain West victory in nearly two years.
 
LOOKING BACK ON WIN OVER WYO
SJSU's 62-55 win over Wyoming back on Jan. 13, 2016 in San Jose was the program's first MW win at home and just the second overall league win in 41 tries. At the time the significance was ending the drought in Mountain West play. Following that game, the Spartans won league games over Fresno State, Air Force and Boise State. Fast-forward to this year and the team comes into Wednesday's game with a 2-3 record and is one game out of reaching third place in the MW standings. Looking back on the Jan. 13 win over Wyoming now, the significance isn't that the drought ended, but that it was a turning point and a sign of more league wins to come.
 
MORE ON THE COWBOYS
Wyoming (12-5, 2-3 MW) comes in after suffering an 89-74 at home to Nevada. The team has five players scoring in double-digits for the year, led by Justin James at 15.3 points per game. Wyoming has the second-highest scoring offense in the league at 78.3 points per game. Both of their MW wins have come at home against Air Force and Utah State. The Cowboys are 10-1 at home this year and 1-4 on the road.
 
CLARKE DOESN'T JUST SCORE
Brandon Clarke rejected at least five shots for the fifth time this season in the win over Air Force. He now has 40 blocks on the season which is one more than he had all of last year. He ranks fifth all-time at SJSU for his 79 career swats. During league play, Clarke averages 3.2 blocks per game, which is tops in the Mountain West. The 6-foot-8 forward is also second on the Spartans in steals this year with 18.
 
SPARTANS WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLES
San José State owns the MW's best turnover margin against opponents during league play of +3.0. In the last three games, the Spartans have forced an average of 17.6 turnovers per game on the opponents. In the win over Fresno State, the Bulldogs committed a MW season-high 23 turnovers.
 
INDIVIDUAL RANKS IN MW PLAY
Brandon Clarke is the league's second-leading scoring during MW play at 23.6 points per game, and is the leader for a 67.1 shooting percentage. Clarke is also the league leader in blocks per game at 3.2. E.J. Boyce has hit 10-of-17 shots from downtown, giving him a league-leading 58.8 shooting percentage from range. Gary Williams, Jr., is fifth among all MW players for an 89.5 percentage at the foul line.
 
FOUL TROUBLE HURTS SJSU IN BATTLE WITH AZTECS
Leading scorer and rebounder Brandon Clarke got into major foul trouble early on at San Diego State, forcing him to the bench with three at the 14:23 mark in the opening period. Starting guard Gary Williams, Jr., was also forced to the bench with two fouls within the first three minutes of the game. San José State fell into a deep first-half hole and trailed by 19, 42-23, at the break. The Spartans outscored the Aztecs 38-34 in the second half, but it wasn't enough to climb out of the hole, and SJSU lost 76-61.
 
SPARTANS GET FIRST MW WIN OF THE YEAR AGAINST RIVAL BULLDOGS
The Spartans beat Fresno State 69-62 last Saturday for their first Mountain West win of the year. It marked consecutive victories over the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2009 season. San José State trailed by 15 at three different points during the first half. But Gary Williams, Jr., converted 11-of-12 free throws in the second half and SJSU got timely threes from Ryan Welage and Cody Schwartz to mount the comeback. It was Jalen James who hit the go-ahead bucket with 21 seconds remaining, and then Williams put the game away with free throws after Bulldogs head coach Rodney Terry picked up two T's and was ejected in the final seconds.
 
GUARD PLAY STEPS UP IN FRESNO STATE WIN
Starting guards Gary Williams, Jr., and Jalen James combined to score 30 points on 16 shots in the 69-62 win over Fresno State. James continued to shoot the ball well from the outside, nailing 2-of-2 from deep, and he hit the go-ahead jumper with 21 seconds remaining. Williams earned 11 of his career-high 18 points at the free throw line. He added two rebounds, two assists and a steal to his line which all came in just 19 minutes of action. The performance came after the two went for a combined 14 points on 6-for-21 shooting in the previous 76-71 loss to Colorado State.