Men's Basketball Hosts WAC Leader LA Tech Thursday

Next Game: Thurs., Jan. 24 Louisiana Tech (16-3, 7-0) The Event Center, San Jose, Calif. 7:00 p.m. PST KSJS 90.5 FM
SPARTANS FACE WAC LEADER:  San Jose State returns home to The Event Center this week and hosts Western Athletic Conference leader Louisiana Tech Thursday night.  The Spartans spent the past two weeks on the road at Utah State, Denver and New Mexico State. San Jose State enters the game with a 9-9 overall record and a 3-4 conference record and is tied with UT Arlington for fifth place in the WAC standings.  The Spartans lost at New Mexico State, 70-53, last Saturday night.  LaVanne Pennington led the team in scoring with 16 points.
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.
VIDEO COVERAGE:  All home San Jose State games are available on the Gold Zone on the Spartan website at www.sjsuspartans.com, for a nominal fee.
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.  
PARKING:  Parking for all fans is available in the Seventh Street Garage, located on the corner of Seventh and San Salvador Streets, for $5, cash only.
PROMOTIONS FOR THURSDAY:  With the start of school this week, Spartan Athletics, Spartan Shops and Associated Students have joined together to sponsor free BBQ for the first 500 people who come to the courtyard outside the upstairs entrance to The Event Center.  Also, the first 200 people who enter the game will receive a free pair of sunglasses. At halftime, the 21st-ranked San Jose State football team will be honored with the Military Bowl Championship Trophy.  Fans will have an opportunity before and during the game to have their picture taken with trophy.
ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH:  The Bulldogs enter Thursday night’s game with a 16-3 overall record and 7-0 WAC mark, the only undefeated team left in the conference and their best start since joining the league in 2001.  Louisiana Tech comes into the game with an eight-game winning streak, currently tied for the eighth-longest in the country.  The team also had a seven-game winning streak earlier this season. Head coach Michael White is in his second season at the helm of the program.  He has a 44-19 record in two years. Two players average in double figures, led by Raheem  Appleby who averages 14.4 points per game followed by  Cordarius Johnson who averages 10.1 points per game.  Michale Kyser is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game and leads the WAC with 63 blocked shots. Louisiana Tech leads the overall series, 15-9, and won both meetings last season, 71-67 in San Jose, and 75-49 in Ruston.  The Spartans swept the two meetings during the 2010-11 season - winning 79-74 in Ruston, and 72-60 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 86-150 record in eight seasons.
LAST TIME OUT: LaVanne Pennington tied his career high with a team-best 16 points, and the bench contributed 25 points, but a seven-minute scoring drought by San Jose State contributed to a 70-53 loss at New Mexico State Saturday night. Pennington scored 16 points for the third time this season on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.  He grabbed four rebounds and recorded a career-best five steals in 32 minutes of action. Aalim Moor, Jaleel Williams and Stephon Smith came off the bench to score 25 points for San Jose State.  Moor scored a career-best nine points on 4-of-5 shooting including his first made three-pointer of the year, had a block and a steal in 14 minutes of action.  Williams contributed a season-best nine points including his first made three-pointer of the year.  Smith added seven points, a rebound and an assist. The Spartans stayed with New Mexico State for the first 16 minutes of the game, leading by as many as three points and had cut the Aggie deficit to five points at 23-18 on a Pennington three-pointer with 3:57 left in the first half.  That would be the final field goal made for the first half and the first 3:00 of the second half.  During that time, New Mexico State went on a 12-0 run to end the first half and a 4-2 run to the start the second.  The only points for the Spartans in that stretch came on two Chris Cunningham free throws one minute into the second half. The field goal drought ended on a Smith field goal at the 17:00-minute mark, but New Mexico State led 39-22.  San Jose State got within 12 points at 52-40 with 9:24 left in the game but could get no closer the rest of the game.
NATIONAL RANKINGS:  As of games through Jan. 20, three Spartans rank in the top-75 in six categories.  James Kinney is 11th in scoring at 20.6 points per game and 19th in steals at 2.43 pg.  Chris Cunningham is tied for 70th in rebounds at 8.5 per game and tied for 70th in double-doubles with 5.  Alex Brown is tied for 41st in blocked shots at 2.22 per game.
BACK TO SEA LEVEL:  San Jose State returns home to 85’ elevation after playing the past three games at elevations above 4,000 feet.  San Jose State started at Utah State (4,534 feet) on Jan. 11, followed by a game at Denver (5,183 feet) last Thursday night and at Las Cruces (4,000 feet) Saturday night.
LOWEST POINT TOTAL IN OVER A YEAR:  With 37 points at Denver last Thursday night, San Jose State had its lowest scoring output since the team scored 40 points in a 47-40 loss to Cal Poly last season (Dec. 10, 2011).  The Spartans also scored just 36 points in an 81-36 loss at California on Dec. 7, 2011.
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 past three games.  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, Garrett, Cunningham and Alex Brown.
CUNNINGHAM CLEANING THE GLASS:  Chris Cunningham leads the team with 153 rebounds and averages 8.5 per game, tying for 70th 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.
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.
SINGLE-DIGIT TURNOVERS:  In three of the first six games of 2013 games, San Jose State 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 the game at Utah State on January 11, 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 80 assists on the season, 4.4 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 71 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 40 blocks and has at least one in 17 games.  The individual season record is 62 set by Gerald Thomas in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.
BEST START TO WAC SEASON:  San Jose State began the WAC season with one of the best starts since joining the conference in 1996-97.  With the 3-1 start, it was the best beginning since 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.
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 has now started four games including the past three.  He is averaging 7.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.  He scored 16 points at UTSA where he was 4-for-7 from three-point range and 16 points at New Mexico State.  Pennington added 13 points at New Orleans and 11 points at Montana State.  
BLOCKIN’ THE BALL:  Alex Brown alters shots on the court and has a team-best 40 blocks on the season.  He had a season-best five blocks against Weber State and has blocked a least one shot in 17 games this 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 at home Saturday night as the Spartans host UT Arlington for the first time in school history.  The two teams are currently tied for fifth place in the WAC standings.  Tip is set for 7 p.m., inside The Event Center.   Saturday night is Military Appreciation Night, and fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue and post their pictures on the SJSU Athletics Facebook page for a chance to win a longboard.
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