Spartans And Rams Round Two Happens Wednesday
Jan. 23, 2017
SPARTANS AND RAMS ROUND TWO ON WEDNESDAY
San José State has won back-to-back league games on the road just once since 1994, and the Spartans will try and do just that on Wednesday when they travel to Colorado State. Tipoff from Moy Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. (MT) and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain. Spartan fans can also listen to Justin Allegri's call on KLIV 1590 AM radio.
San José State (9-9, 2-5 MW) at Colorado State (12-8, 4-3 MW)
Wednesday, January 25, 2017, 7:00 p.m. (MT)
Moby Arena (8,745)
Fort Collins, Colo.
TV: ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain
RADIO: KLIV 1590 AM
OFF THE TOP
CSU beat SJSU earlier this month 76-71 and is 14-0 all-time against the Spartans dating back to 1969 ... SJSU has was back-to-back conference games on the road just once since 1994, and can do so with a win on Wednesday ... The Spartans are yet to win in the rebounding category against a conference foe and will face the MW's leading rebounder in Emmanuel Omogbo on Wednesday ... Brandon Clarke comes in as the third-leading overall scorer in the MW (18.1 ppg) and is second during league play at 23.3 ppg ... A win for the 9-9 Spartans would give the program its first 10-win season since the 2010-11 season.
A TOP FIVE PLAYER
Sophomore forward Brandon Clarke is top-five in the Mountain West in nearly 10 stat categories including: Points per game (18.1 - 3rd), made field goals (139 - 1st), field goal percentage (60.7 - 1st) and total blocks (41 - 2nd). Clarke's field goal percentage is ranked 17th in the country and he has made at least 50 percent of his field goal tries in 10 consecutive games coming into Wednesday's tilt. The contest Wednesday will be San José State's second game against the Rams this year, and Clarke went for 24 points and nine rebounds in the first meeting.
LESS THAN A MONTH AGO AGAINST COLORADO STATE
The Spartans lost to Colorado State 76-71 earlier this month in San Jose. San José State had two chances to tie the game in the final minute, but Cody Schwartz missed a 3-pointer with 47 seconds to go and Ryan Welage did the same with just under five seconds remaining. Brandon Clarke finished with a game-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. CSU guards Prentiss Nixon and J.D. Paige each finished with 18 points and Emmanuel Omogbo finished with a double-double including 13 points and 11 rebounds.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN
The Spartans have picked up two league wins over rivals Fresno State and on the road at Air Force since Colorado State and San José State last met. Brandon Clarke has continued to hammer the opposition and has broken into the early All-Mountain West discussion. Meanwhile Colorado State has gone 2-2 since Jan. 4 with wins over Air Force and most recently Utah State, and losses to New Mexico and Fresno State. It is the first time for either team facing a MW foe for round two this year.
SERIES HISTORY WITH COLORADO STATE
The most recent 76-71 loss back on January 4 dropped San José State to 0-14 in the all-time series with Colorado State dating back to the first meeting in 1969. SJSU is 0-8 against the Rams as members of the Mountain West with an 11.8-point average margin of defeat. That margin shrank to just 4.5 points in the two regular-season meetings last year. The Rams edged the Spartans 85-84 in overtime when the teams met inside The Event Center on Jan. 9, 2016, and won again 74-66 later in the month in Fort Collins.
MUST GET OUT THE GATE
A common thread for San José State in its two most recent losses to Wyoming (1/18) and Boise State (1/21) are poor starts on offense. Against Boise State SJSU trailed 7-0 to start the game, were down as many as 14 in the opening period, and remained behind by double-digits until the final two minutes. In the first 10 minutes against Wyoming, the Spartans opened the game shooting 4-for-14 and had six turnovers. They trailed by 14 at that point in the game and were down by as many as 21 points during the first half.
SPARTANS TAKE ON LEAGUE'S LEADING REBOUNDER
San José State is yet to outrebound a conference opponent this season, and is being beaten on the glass by an average of 8.7 boards per game. It won't be any easier when SJSU goes against Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo who leads the MW in per game rebounding at 10.7. San José State has a top-10 rebounder of their own in Brandon Clarke, who grabs 7.5 boards per game. Ryan Welage is next for the Spartans at 5.1 rebounds per contest.
CLARKE'S HOT START NOT ENOUGH TO TAME BRONCOS
Brandon Clarke came out and drained his first eight shots from the field against Boise State and finished with 18 first-half points. The rest of the Spartans however missed their first seven shots and combined to shoot 3-for-12 in the opening period. Boise State jumped out to a lead as big as 14 points and the game stayed right there until 1:14 left when the Spartans fought it back to a two-possession game. Boise State put the game away from the free throw line for a 75-65 win.
CAN'T COUNT `EM OUT
San José State has faced some big deficits during conference play, but they've managed to make their way back into nearly all of them. SJSU trailed by 15 points at three different points during the first half against Fresno State, and came back to win the game. The game at San Diego State ended with a 15-point loss, but SJSU trailed by as many as 23 before cutting it to 12 points midway through the second half. San José State outscored SDSU 38-34 in the final 20 minutes. Against Wyoming and Boise State both, the Spartans trailed by double-digits late in the second half and managed to claw back to a two-possession game with just under two minutes to play.
ON THE CUSP OF 10 WINS
The next win will be San José State's 10th of the season, and would be the first double-digit win total in a season since 2010-11 when the team was 17-16. Hitting the 10-win mark would be another rung up for the program which three two years ago won two games, and last year won nine.
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 during the week of 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.
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 on Jan. 14. 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.
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.