Moscow, Idaho-D.J. Brown scored 18 points, and Chris Cunningham grabbed 18 rebounds, but San Jose State's free throw shooting held the Spartans back from winning at Idaho, 66-63, Saturday night in a Western Athletic Conference game.
Brown came off the bench to score in double figures for the ninth time this season. He is the second Spartan in four games to come off the bench to lead the team in scoring (Aalim Moor w/14 against Louisiana Tech.)
Brown also dished out five assists, grabbed seven boards and did not a commit a turnover for the fourth time this season. However, Brown was just 5-for-15 from the field and 5-of-12 from the free throw line.
Cunningham tied his season-high with 18 rebounds, nine offensive and nine defensive. He had a block and a steal, but was just 2-for-14 from the field.
FREE THROW PROBLEMS
San Jose State made just 8-of-24 free throws Saturday night, a season-low 33 percent from the line. The team made just 4-of-15 in the second half when the Spartans were fighting to take the lead from Idaho.
San Jose State trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half at 26-12 with 6:19 remaining. Over the next four Spartan possessions, three different Spartans made four three-pointers to pull the team within six points at 30-24, Moor, Brown (twice) and Nick Grieves.
The Vandals then used a 10-3 run to open the game back up to a 13-point margin and led 40-27 at halftime.
Idaho came out of the locker room and opened up the lead to 15 at 42-27 with 18:45 left. The Spartans then slowly chipped away at the lead, getting to within three at 47-44 on a Chris Jones layup with 10:13 left.
San Jose State never led Idaho get more than five points ahead over the next six-plus minutes and got to within one point at 58-57 on a Jones jumper at 3:56. The Spartans had a chance to tie or go ahead after the media timeout at 3:45, but Alex Brown missed both attempts.
The Vandals then made four free throws over the next minute to take a five-point lead and led 66-60 with six seconds left in the game. Moor shot a desperation three from 35-feet away and made it with two-tenths of a second left to make the final score 66-63.
The Spartans held Idaho to just 6-of-21 from the field in the second half, but the Vandals were 12-for-14 from the free throw line in the second half
"There is no question that free throw entered into the final result," said Spartan head coach George Nessman. "I think it is important to recognize the unbelievable efforts our guys gave tonight, particularly defensively in the second half. They executed our game plan defensively almost perfectly tonight. Idaho is one of the best offensive executing teams in our conference and in the West. We broke up what they like to do."
"I think we are regaining our balance after some of the setbacks we faced. Tonight gives us cause for optimism and we are getting back to being a good basketball team. There is no quit in our team and will keep fighting. We played really hard all game. We did a lot of things to be successful - out rebounded them on the offensive glass and did not turn the ball over (season-low five)."
The Spartans featured the sixth different starting lineup this season. Moor and David Andoh got their first career starts. Moor scored six points, while Andoh had six rebounds.
Grieves came off the bench and scored 10 points and hit three three-pointers including two key buckets in the first half to lift the team up on the run. Louis Garrett added 10 points including 3-for-5 from three-point range.
The Spartans return home for three games over the next two weeks. The team hosts Utah State next Friday, February 8, followed by games with New Mexico State on Thursday, February 14, and Denver on Saturday, February 16. All games begin at 7 p.m., at The Event Center.
San Jose State vs Idaho
02/02/13 7:05 p.m. at Moscow, Idaho (Cowan Spectrum)
IDAHO 66, SAN JOSE STATE 63
SAN JOSE STATE (9-13, 3-8 WAC)
Brown, D.J. 5-15 5-12 18; Garrett, Louis 3-10 1-2 10; Grieves, Nick 3-11 1-2 10; Moor, Aalim 2-3 0-0 6; Jones, Chris 3-3 0-0 6; Cunningham, Chris 2-14 1-3 5; Andoh, David 2-5 0-2 4; Brown, Alex 1-3 0-3 2; Smith, Stephon 1-2 0-0 2; Jones, Xavier 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 22-69 8-24 63.
IDAHO (9-12, 5-6 WAC)
Hill, Connor 4-10 7-7 19; Barone, Kyle 4-9 7-8 15; Madison, Stephen 1-6 7-10 9; McChristian, Mike 3-9 0-0 8; Habeeb, Mansa 3-6 0-0 8; Harris, Robert 2-5 0-0 5; Faines, Wendell 1-2 0-0 2; Douglas, Denzel 0-0 0-0 0; Kammerer, Joe 0-2 0-0 0; Borton, Matt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-50 21-25 66.
San Jose State................ 27 36 - 63
Idaho......................... 40 26 - 66
3-point goals--San Jose State 11-27 (Garrett, Louis 3-5; Grieves, Nick 3-11; Brown, D.J. 3-8; Moor, Aalim 2-3), Idaho 9-23 (Hill, Connor 4-8; McChristian, Mike 2-5; Habeeb, Mansa 2-3; Harris, Robert 1-3; Borton, Matt 0-1; Madison, Stephen 0-3). Fouled out--San Jose State-Cunningham, Chris, Idaho-None. Rebounds--San Jose State 47 (Cunningham, Chris 18), Idaho 42 (Barone, Kyle 12). Assists--San Jose State 13 (Brown, D.J. 5), Idaho 10 (Barone, Kyle 3). Total fouls--San Jose State 22, Idaho 21. Technical fouls--San Jose State-None, Idaho-None. A-950
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