Men's Hoops Tries To Ascend From The Pit With A Win
Feb. 3, 2017
SPARTANS MARCH INTO THE PIT SATURDAY
San José State hits the road for a game against the New Mexico Lobos Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (MT) inside Wise-Pies Arena / The Pit. The game will feature the Mountain West's top-two scorers during league play in Brandon Clarke (23.3 ppg) and Elijah Brown (22.0 ppg). The game will be show on ROOT Sports Southwest and can also be heard live on KLIV 1590 AM with Justin Allegri's play-by-play.
San José State (10-10, 3-6 MW) at New Mexico (14-9, 7-4 MW)
Saturday, February 4, 2017, 4:00 p.m. (MT)
Wise-Pise Arena / The Pit (13,411)
TV: ROOT Sports Southwest
Radio: KLIV 1590 AM
OFF THE TOP
San José State has never beaten New Mexico in 14 meetings dating back to 1961 ... Saturday's game will feature the Mountain West's top-two scorers during league play in Brandon Clarke (23.3 ppg) and Elijah Brown (22.0 ppg) ... Clarke is now third all-time at San José State for his 88 career blocks and he leads all Mountain West players during league play at 2.4 swats per game ... The Spartans lost both meetings with the Lobos last year by an average score of 18.5 points ... San José State has reached 10 wins for the first time since the 2010-11 season, and one more MW win will match the total from all of last season.
SERIES HISTORY WITH NEW MEXICO
San José State has never beaten New Mexico in 11 meetings dating back to 1961. The closest the Spartans came to a win was an 82-81 overtime loss at home in 1999. Since joining the Mountain West San José State has lost five games by an average of 14.4 points per game. Last season the Spartans lost 83-64 at home and 74-56 on the road to the Lobos.
LAST TIME IN THE PIT
A 5:25 scoring drought near the end of the first half doomed the Spartans the last time they played in The Pit on Feb. 13, 2016. San José State made things interesting in the second half when Jalen James hit a pair of threes to make it 47-42 midway through the second half. But New Mexico would run away from there for a 74-58 win.
CLARKE LEADS ALL SCORERS IN MW PLAY
Spartan forward Brandon Clarke comes into Saturday's game as the Mountain West's leading scorer during league play at 23.3 points per game. He has scored 20 or more points in seven of the nine MW games, including a career-high 36 on the road at Air Force. Last week he notched a pair of double-doubles with 24 points and 12 rebounds at Colorado State and then 23 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UNLV.
OTHER TOP RANKINGS FOR BC
Clarke's 18.4 points per game this season are coming at a league best 60.4 percent (157-260) shooting clip. During conference play, he's at a MW-leading 64.7 percent shooting and is top-five in a number of other categories including: 8.8 rebounds per game - 4th, 2.8 blocks per game - 1st, and 2.9 offensive rebounds per game - 3rd.
LEAGUE'S LEADING SCORERS GO AT IT
Brandon Clarke and Elijah Brown play different positions but they have one thing in
common - Leading scorers in Mountain West play. Clarke hasn't made a 3-pointer this year while averaging 23.3 points per conference game while Brown averages 2.2 makes from range per contest for the year. Brown comes in just behind Clarke at 22.0 points per
conference game and both players have been heating up over the last few weeks leading up to the matchup against each other on Saturday.
Terrell Brown GETS SEASON-HIGH BURN IN FIRST START
Terrell Brown made the first start of his Spartan career against UNLV and played 38 minutes during the win. He contributed a season-high 14 points. He scored 13 points off the bench in the previous game at Colorado State. While Brown showed that he may be one of the fastest young players in the conference driving to the basket, he hasn't finished well as of yet, going 6-for-22 from the floor. Before the last two games, Brown had been averaging 16.3 minutes per game coming off of the bench.
CLUTCH-FACTOR LIFTS SPARTANS OVER REBELS
San José State's 76-72 win over New Mexico came down to hitting big shots when the team needed it most. Ryan Welage broke a 63-63 tie with his only 3-pointer of the game, Isaiah Nichols and Jaycee Hillsman pitched in with key threes down the stretch of the second half. Finally, Brandon Clarke was there for a put-back that gave SJSU a five-point lead with under three minutes to go. After the Spartans erased the 13-point deficit early in the second half, it was a matter of hitting those shots in order to beat UNLV and end a three-game slide.
SPARTANS REACH 10 WINS
Reaching 10 wins in a season is a first since 2010-11 when the team went 17-16 and reached the CBI Tournament. Last weeks win over UNLV not only put the Spartans over the 10-win hump, but gave them their first win over the Rebels since 1996. The number 10 may not seem so significant, but considering just two years ago the team was 2-28 without a win over a Division I opponent. Last Saturday's win was SJSU's third in MW play this year, and one more will match the total from all of last season.
UNDEFEATED WHEN WINNING THE BOARDS IN CONFERENCE PLAY
San José State is a perfect 1-0 when it outrebounds the opponent this year during conference play. That's right, the 76-72 win over UNLV was the first time all year that SJSU beat a MW foe in rebounding, 36-31. The Spartans have a league-worst -7.7 margin on the glass this season. Despite the efforts of Brandon Clarke, who brings down 8.1 per game, the team has struggled to beat the opposition in rebounding.
WELAGE FINDS HIS STROKE
Sophomore forward Ryan Welage had been struggling to find the bottom of the net with the turn of conference play to the tune of shooting 32.5 percent leading up to last
Saturday's game versus UNLV. But against the Rebels he hit 8-of-14 from the floor and scored a conference season-high 19 points. The Spartans have become accustomed to that sort of performance throughout his freshman season and the nonconference portion of this year. His season-high 22 points came earlier this year helping lift San José State to a win over Southern Utah. Welage only hit 1-of-4 from downtown in the win over UNLV, but that one broke a 63-63 tie and gave SJSU the momentum it needed to close out the rebels in the final minutes.