Men's Hoops Heads To Vegas For Saturday Matinee
Feb. 10, 2017
SPARTANS CAN SWEEP UNLV ON SATURDAY
San José State heads on the road to UNLV for a 3:00 p.m. (PT) tip on Campus Insiders and the Mountain West Network. A win would make it four in a row for the Spartans and complete a season sweep of the Runnin' Rebels. SJSU beat UNLV to begin the current win streak. Fans can also listen to Justin Allegri's play-by-play call on KLIV 1590 AM radio.
San José State (12-10, 5-6 MW) at UNLV (10-15, 3-9 MW)
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 3:00 p.m. (PT)
Thomas & Mack Center (18,000)
Las Vegas, Nev.
TV: Campus Insiders / Mountain West Network
Radio: KLIV 1590 AM
OFF THE TOP
San José State is riding its first three-game conference winning streak as members of the Mountain West and the first against conference foes since 2010 ... The last time SJSU won four straight league games was in February of 1996 ... The Spartans were 76-72 winners over UNLV less than two weeks ago on Jan. 28 in San Jose ... Brandon Clarke comes into Saturday's game as the MW's leading scorer (22.7 ppg) and shot blocker (2.7 bpg) during league play ... Only one of San José State's five program wins have come in Las Vegas - an 80-74 triumph on Mar. 3, 1994.
WINNERS OF THREE STRAIGHT AFTER 76-71 VICTORY OVER SDSU
San José State pulled off the first win against San Diego State since 1999 behind Brandon Clarke's game-high 22 points and another solid performance from freshman point guard Terrell Brown. Brown made his third consecutive start and scored 13 points for his fourth consecutive game in double-figure scoring. The Spartans overcame a rough start where they missed the first 10 shots, and would hold a lead as large as 12 points late in the second half. The Spartans connected on 23 of 26 free throw attempts in the win.
DISECTING THE STREAK
It is San José State's first three-game winning streak in conference play since taking down Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State and Hawai'i in the same week (Jan. 21-28, 2011). The Spartans are shooting 47.8 percent from the field while holding the three opponents to a combined 38.3 percent. After being outrebounded by an average of nearly eight per game in conference play, the Spartans have been close to even with the opponents during the streak at -1.0.
PERSEPCTIVE ON THE SPARTANS
San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV are the three teams with the most MW championship titles in the league with 11 combined. It was the first time since 1996 that SJSU beat the Rebels, first time ever beating the Lobos and first time since 1999 beating the Aztecs. The Spartans were 1-35 during the first two years of league play as Mountain West members and after winning four conference games last year, this streak has brought them above that with five wins here in early February. Upon join the league the Spartans' RPI was in the 330's and at the end of last year with a 9-21 record, it was 299. Through games as of February 8, 2017, SJSU's RPI is 143. Given the history of success which SJSU's last three opponents have enjoyed in the last decade, it can be safe to call this the best three-game winning streak San José State has ever had.
THE NEW BIG THREE
The emergence of Terrell Brown has been critical as he's scored 57 points in the last four games after scoring exactly 57 points through his previous 12 games as a reserve. He averaged 15.3 minutes per game off the bench through his first 13 games before getting 38 minutes of burn in the games against UNLV and New Mexico, and 39 minutes against San Diego State. Brandon Clarke has averaged 20.7 points and 9.7 rebounds during the streak, and SJSU has become accustomed to those types of number from him. Despite a 3-for-11 shooting performance against SDSU, Ryan Welage has stepped up in the last few weeks with timely baskets. He also fueled the Spartan's win at New Mexico with a team-high 20 points.
WHAT'S ON THE LINE
SJSU can win four straight league games for the first time since February of 1996. That's the same year the Spartans went on to win the '96 Big West Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. A win would also give the Spartans a season sweep of the Runnin' Rebels which surprisingly has happened before in the 1993-94 season - Surprising given San José State is 5-35 all-time against UNLV.
CLARKE LOOKS TO BUILD ON CAREER VERSUS UNLV
It's a small sample size, but throughout the early goings of Brandon Clarke's career he has liked to play against UNLV. He scored 15 points and 14 rebounds in last year's meeting in Las Vegas. In the meeting less than two weeks ago inside the Event Center Clarke scored 23 and tied his career high with 15 boards. Clarke has made 15-of-25 shots against the Rebels which mirrors his career shooting percentage which rests at 61.8 percent.
REBOUNDING SHOULD BE KEY AGAIN
One thing that helped San José State pick up the win over UNLV in the previous game was winning the rebounding category, 36-31. In fact it remains the only conference opponent that SJSU has beaten on the glass in a game this year. The Spartans had been getting outworked on the glass at a margin of -9.1, but over the last three games they've shrunk that down to just -1.0. Brandon Clarke leads San José State averaging 8.0 rebounds per game while Christian Jones leads UNLV at 6.4 boards per game.
HILLSMAN QUIETLY IMPACTING SPARTAN WINS
You won't find much looking at Jaycee Hillsman's contributions over the last three games as a package. But digging into each of SJSU's wins during the streak you'll find the 6-foot-6 guard has been a factor. He nailed a corner three with 6:25 remaining which regained the lead for San José State and was a momentum swinger for the Spartans down the stretch. While fending off a late New Mexico run, Hillsman drained 4-of-4 free throws facing the UNM student section in the last two minutes which became critical in the 78-68 win. It was a combo of threes and free throws for Jaycee against SDSU as banged two from downtown in the second half and hit a pair of late free throws to help put the Aztecs away.