#11-Men's Basketball Opens Mountain West Tournament Play Versus #6-Wyoming
March 6, 2018
MW TOURNAMENT ROUND ONE
#11-SPARTANS FACE #6-WYOMING IN OPENING ROUND OF MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT
The San José State men's basketball team plays its opening round game of the Mountain West Tournament on Wednesday, March 7, at 4:00 p.m. inside the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be broadcast live on Facebook and fans can find the streaming link below or head over to the men's basketball schedule page for access. Fans can also tune in to Justin Allegri and Jess Knaster's call of the game on KLIV 1590 AM.
MW TOURNAMENT ROUND ONE
#11-San José State (4-25) vs. #6-Wyoming (19-12)
Wednesday, March 7, 4:00 p.m. (PT)
Thomas & Mack Center (18,000)
Las Vegas, Nev.
Radio: KLIV 1590 AM
SPARTANS AT THE MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT
San José State is working against some rough history at the Mountain West Tournament. Although it's short history, the Spartans are 0-3 all-time in the tournament with a 25.3-point average margin of defeat. Last year the #9-Spartans were knocked out of the tournament by #8-Utah State with a 90-64 beating.
Wyoming controls the all-time series against the Spartans, 12-2. The Cowboys beat the Spartans in San Jose, 90-86, in overtime on Jan. 27 and won again on Feb. 17 in Laramie, 89-75. San José State's last win over Wyoming came in 2015-16 at home by a score of 62-55. It was SJSU's first win at home as members of the Mountain West.
NO SHORTAGE OF POINTS IN FIRST TWO MEETINGS
San José State averaged 80.5 points in two games against Wyoming this year. That's the highest two-game average against any Mountain West opponent this season, as was the 89.5 points per game that the Spartans gave up in the two losses to the Cowboys. SJSU's Ryan Welage scored a new career-high 37 points to lead the Spartans while Justin James scored 30 points to lead Wyoming to a 90-86 overtime win in the first meeting. It was Keith Fisher III's turn for a career-high 26 points for SJSU in the second meeting. But Wyoming had six players finish in double-figure scoring that day, led by Hayden Dalton with 22 points. The Cowboys hit 16-of-42 three-point field goal attempts in the 89-75 win over the Spartans in the second meeting.
In an attempt to guard against easy points around the basket San José State has been allowing its opponents to shoot 3-pointers at record volumes. Over the last five games SJSU opponents are averaging 39 three-point field goal attempts and combined to shoot 35.5 percent (70-197). Wyoming set the Mountain West record with 42 attempts in the Feb. 17 meeting with the Spartans, but that record only stood for 11 days until Utah State put up 43 3-pointers against the Spartans. The strategy worked against the Aggies who made only 12 of their 34 attempts and SJSU capitalized for a 64-62 win. The other results, while the percentages weren't high, the sheer volume of three-point baskets has been too much for SJSU to keep pace with.
Ryan Welage EARNS ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST HONORABLE MENTION
The Mountain West head coaches tabbed Spartans forward Ryan Welage All-MW honorable mention. Welage receives the honor after leading SJSU in scoring 18 times during the regular season. He had 13 games of 20 or more points and two 30-point games, including his career-high 37 points against Wyoming on Jan. 27. The Greensburg, Ind., native is the league's most accurate free throw shooter at 87.5 percent (98-112), while making 45.7 percent of his shots from the field. It is the first all-conference honor of any kind for Welage.
Keith Fisher III PROVIDES SECOND SPARK FOR SJSU
Redshirt freshman Keith Fisher III has developed into a top scorer and rebounder for the Spartans over the course of his first season. His per game averages for the conference season are 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 47.4 percent from the field. In the last five games those numbers jump up to 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds. The Los Angeles native has led SJSU in scoring in five of the last seven games including a career-high 26-point effort at Wyoming on Feb. 17. He scored a team-high 18 points in the team's regular season finale at Air Force.
HILLSMAN RETURNS TO STARTING LINEUP
Jaycee Hillsman had come off the bench in 16 consecutive games before being inserted back into the starting lineup for the Feb. 17 game at Wyoming. He made the most of that opportunity with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and was a starter playing heavy minutes for the remainder of the regular season. Since returning to the starting five Hillsman is averaging 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists, all of which are above his season averages. The Champaign, Ill., native was on the floor for all 40 minutes of SJSU's 64-62 win over Utah State.
WELAGE AMONG THE SPARTAN GREATS
Ryan Welage hit two major career milestones this season by reaching the 1,000-point plateau and becoming the program's all-time leader in made 3-pointers. Welage scored his 1,000th point on Jan. 9 at San Diego State, making him the 15th player in the 108-season history of the program. He has since risen up the ranks to seventh on the all-time scoring list with 1,233 points, and will take over sixth with just four points on Wednesday. In SJSU's win over Utah State Welage buried the 154th 3-pointer of his career making him the all-time leader at SJSU.