Men's Hoops Hosts Wolf Pack Wednesday Night
Feb. 15, 2016
ONE AND ONLY MEETING WITH NEVADA HAPPENS WEDNESDAY
After a long road trip, San José State returns home to face Nevada on Wednesday, February 17, for a 7:00 p.m. (PST) tip on the MW Network. Like San José State, Nevada is another team with a big turnaround from a year ago. Led by star freshmen Cameron Oliver, the Wolf Pack have charged into the league's top five. But SJSU has its own pack of freshmen hungry for a third straight win inside The Event Center.
San José State (8-17, 3-10 MW) vs. Nevada (15-9, 7-5 MW)
Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 7:00 p.m. (PST)
The Event Center (5,000)
San Jose, Calif.
WATCH: Spartan Digital Network
LISTEN: Stretch Internet Radio
SPARTANS HANDED A 74-58 LOSS AT NEW MEXICO
San José State's late first-half scoring drought gave New Mexico a lead, which would never be relinquished, and the Spartans fell 74-58 inside The Pit last Saturday. Frank Rogers, with 12 points, led the team in scoring for the 10th time this season. SJSU hit just two of its final 13 shots to close the first half. The Lobos led by as many as 19 points with just over four minutes to play. The Spartans made it a two-possession game twice during the second half, but both times New Mexico answered with a run of their own. It was the Spartans' second loss of the season to UNM.
TRIAL BY FIRE
San José State's four true freshmen: Ryan Welage, Cody Schwartz, Brandon Clarke and Jaycee Hillsman have combined to account for 44.1 percent of the team's scoring in 2015-16. That is by far the highest percentage of points scored by true freshmen among all Mountain West teams, with UNLV next at 26.8 percent. Nevada, Wednesday's opponent, has gotten 21.7 percent of its scoring from true freshmen, which is third-highest in the league.
LEADERS OVER THE LAST THREE GAMES
6-foot-9 freshman Brandon Clarke continues to be San José State's go-to guy, leading the team with averages of 12.7 points and 11.0 rebounds over the last three games. Not only that, but he leads the squad in blocks and is second in assists. 13 of his 33 rebounds during the stretch have been offensive boards. Frank Rogers has led the team in scoring 10 times this season, and is right behind Clarke at 12.0 points per game over the last three. Rogers, another 6-foot-9 forward, has made 5 of 12 shots (.417) from beyond the arc during that stretch, which is the team's best.
SJSU LETS ONE SLIP AWAY AT UNLV
San José State had UNLV down by as many as 15 points late in the first half, and led the game for a total of 33:13, but turnovers and poor free throw shooting handed UNLV the 64-61 win. The Spartans tuned the ball over six time in a matter of 2:15 beginning at the 7:47 mark. They also were 3 of 8 from the free throw line in the final four minutes of the game. Brandon Clarke finished with his fourth double-double including 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead San José State.
MORE ON Brandon Clarke
As his freshman season continues, Brandon Clarke is blooming into San José State's highest-impact player. Over the last four games, Clarke is averaging 12.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2 .5 blocks per game. Working from the inside, Clarke is the Spartans' most efficient shooter at 63.1 percent on the year. In conference play, he has taken over as the team's leading rebounder (7.6 pg) and shot blocker (1.9 pg). He has grabbed multiple offensive rebounds in nine of the last 10 games, including a season-high seven in both games against Fresno State.
SAN JOSE STATE VS. NEVADA
It's been a rough go for San José State in recent history against the Nevada Wolf Pack, with just two wins in the last 28 meetings dating back to the 2001-02 season. One of those wins came in February of 2014, when Jalen James knocked down a jumper with 1.8 second left to give Dave Wojcik his first win as the Spartans' head coach. Last season, the Spartans fell twice to the Wolf Pack, including a tight 60-57 loss inside The Event Center. Nevada has the upper hand 54-48 in the all-time series which dates back to the 1928-29 season.
LOOKING FOR THREE STRAIGHT WINS AT HOME
San José State recorded wins in their last two home games over Air Force (1/30) and Fresno State (2/3). A win on Wednesday would give SJSU three consecutive wins inside The Event Center for the first time since the team won four in a row in February of 2011 on the way to a 17-16 overall record.
KEYS TO VICTORY
If you're asking how the Spartans were able to pull off two MW wins in a row, the answer is defense. Air Force and Fresno State averaged just 53.5 points, which is 20.5 points below SJSU opponents' average this season. The Falcons and Bulldogs combined to shoot 31.6 percent from the floor, while SJSU shot 41.6 percent. Hayden Graham and Marvelle Harris, the leading scorers for Air Force and Fresno State respectively, were limited to a combined 4 of 27 shooting and 13 points. The defensive combination of Princeton Onwas and Jaycee Hillsman shut down Harris, the league's third-leading scorer, to the tune of a season-low seven points. Finally, San José State made 82.6 percent of its free throws (38-46), far above the regular season average of 66.7 percent.
SPARTANS TOP BULLDOGS FOR THIRD MW WIN
Frank Rogers scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, and the Spartans hit big shot after big shot on the way to a 65-53 win over Fresno State. It was the second straight win in conference play, a feat which the team hadn't achieved sincethe 2012-13 season when it won two straight Western Athletic Conference games. Brandon Clarke scored 14 points to go along with his season-high 15 rebounds. Isaac Thornton made the play of the game when he scored a bucket, and made the foul shot. The Spartans put the game away making 14 of 15 from the line in the final 7:43. Fresno State's Marvelle Harris, the league's third-leading scorer, was held to a season-low seven points on 2 of 16 shooting.
MEN'S HOOPS RACES TO 75-54 WIN OVER AIR FORCE
The Spartans used four consecutive three-point baskets to open up a 12-0 lead and never looked back in the 75-54 win against Air Force. Jaycee Hillsman led the way with 13 points for SJSU which had three more players finish in double-figures scoring. The Spartans' defense held Air Force to 28.6 percent shooting for the game. Isaac Thornton contributed a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and two steals. Brandon Clarke finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and a season-high five blocks.