Spartans Go For Three In A Row Saturday Versus Santa Clara

Jalen James is shooting the basketball with confidence in the early part of 2016-17.
Dec. 1, 2016

SJSU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

SCU Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

SPARTANS GO FOR THREE IN A ROW SATURDAY VERSUS SANTA CLARA
After two victories in a row out on the road the San José State men's basketball team returns to The Event Center on Saturday, December 3 to face Santa Clara. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (PT) on the Mountain West Network. Students, faculty and staff get into the game for free!
 
Game #7
 
San José State (3-3) vs. Santa Clara (3-5)
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 7:00 p.m. (PT)
The Event Center (5,000)
San Jose, Calif.
 
 
Live Streaming: Mountain West Network
Listen Live: KLIV 1590 AM & KSJS 90.5 FM
 
 
SPARTANS TRY TO BUCK HISTORY WITH BRONCOS
History is not on San José State's side when it comes to beating Santa Clara. The Broncos own a 79-29 advantage over the Spartans in the all-time series, and have won six in a row. The last win for San José State was on December 23, 2009, in The Leavey Center by a score of 74-68. The last time San José State beat Santa Clara at home was Dec. 1, 1996.

GOING FOR THREE IN A ROW
A win on Saturday would give San José State three straight wins over Division I opponents for the first time since the 2012-13 season when the Spartans beat Montana State (12/1), UC Davis (12/5) and Sacramento State (12/8).

WHAT A ROAD TRIP IT WAS
San José State comes home after taking two straight on the road against Washington State (88-76) and Idaho (58-49). The back-to-back wins away from home were a first since December of 2012 when the Spartans beat Texas State (12/29) and UT Arlington (12/31). The Spartans dropped the first contest of the three-game trip to Saint Mary's, currently ranked 12th in the country, 81-64. Despite the loss SJSU hung tight with the Gaels through 30 minutes of the game, which had 11 lead changes and was tied six times. San José State found a little bit of mojo against one of the country's best teams and used it to beat the following two opponents.

BIG-FOUR DURING THE TRIP
Four things that really stood out about the Spartans on the road trip and helped them to a pair of wins were: second-chance points, bench production, getting to the free throw line and taking care of the basketball. San José State averaged 14.3 second-chance points per game on the trip, while the opponents averaged 7.0. The Spartan bench outscored the opponents 71-44, including a 32-10 advantage in the win over Washington State. Behind Jaycee Hillsman's 22 attempts, SJSU averaged 19.3 free throw tries per game - making 77.6 percent (45-58). Finally, San José State had a season-low eight turnovers at Washington State and finished the trip averaging just 9.0 turnovers per game.

CLARKE SAYS NO NO NO TO IDAHO
Brandon Clarke (6-8, So., F, Phoenix, Ariz.) blocked four shots in the final 5:35 of the win at Idaho. All four times a Vandals player challenged him with a layup or dunk at the rim, they were denied. Clarke finished the game with a SJSU single-game record-tying six swats. He also hit a floater in the lane within the last couple of minutes that helped SJSU keep the edge for a 58-49 victory.

SPARTANS TAKE DOWN WASHINGTON STATE
San José State beat Washington State 88-76 on Sunday afternoon for the first win against the Cougars since 1990 and the first win against a Pac-12 team since 2010. Ryan Welage and Brandon Clarke both finished with a double-double, and that was only the surface of a very balanced offensive performance for the Spartans who had five players in double-figure scoring. There were six lead changes in the game and they were all within the first 10 minutes of the opening period. From there, it was all San José State.

OUSTANDING WEEK FOR WELAGE
A tough shooting night at Idaho (6-19) was the only blemish on an outstanding week for Ryan Welage (6-9, So., F, Greensburg, Ind.) who led the team in scoring during all three games of the road trip. He extended his season-high in points with 17 at Saint Mary's and then extended it again with 20 at Washington State. He pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds for a double-double in the win over the Cougars. Welage averaged 17.3 points and 8.0 rebounds on the trip, but his best stat was just one turnover in 94 minutes played.

HILLSMAN ADDS ANOTHER ELEMENT
In the two wins over Washington State and Idaho, Jaycee Hillsman (6-6, So., G, Champaign, Ill.) was a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the floor and a near-perfect 15-of-17 from the free throw line. Taking higher-percentage shots around the basket and drawing fouls have been the biggest additions to his game from a year ago as a freshman. He is 29-of-32 (.906) from the line this season. Last year he took more outside shots and finished shooting 31.0 percent and averaging 4.5 points per game. So far in 2016-17, he's shooting 55.2 percent (16-29) and is third on the team at 10.2 points per game.
 
Brandon Mitchell FULFILLS HIS ROLE IN A WIN
Brandon Mitchell (6-6, Jr., F, Memphis, Tenn.) came off the bench early in the second half at Washington State and gave the Spartans the solid 16 minutes they needed from him. Mitchell blocked two shots and one of his six rebounds was an offensive board that he put back for the second-chance bucket. During his first stint off the bench, SJSU increased its 3-point lead over the Cougars to 11 points.
 
MORE ON SANTA CLARA
Santa Clara (3-5) comes in having lost three straight games. Most recently, UC Irvine defeated the Broncos 58-55 in Santa Clara. While the Broncos are being outrebounded by an average of 7.4 per game, they average 14 assists per game and just over 10 turnovers per game. Senior guard Jared Brownridge leads the team in scoring at 20.6 points per contest.
 
LAST MEETING WITH THE BRONCOS
Santa Clara beat San José State 78-75 in a nail-biter inside the Leavey Center last season on Dec. 5. The Spartans had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer as the clock expired but Princeton Onwas' shot went off iron. The Spartans managed to hold Brownridge to just four points, but let Nate Kratch kill them down low in the process. Kratch finished with a career-high 29 points on 13-of-15 shooting. Cody Schwartz hit four threes for the Spartans and finished with 15 points.
 
SECOND-CHANCE SPARTANS
15 of San José State's 50 rebounds against Washington State were on the offensive glass. The result was a season-high 16 second-chance points. The effort continued a trend where the Spartans are now averaging 13.6 second-chance points per game compared to the opponents' 6.0 per game. It was a 13-3 advantage in that department last time out against Idaho.
 
BENCH DOESN'T LET UP
The Spartans bench outscored Washington State and Idaho's benches combined 60-27. SJSU is averaging 32.0 points per game in bench production while opponents are averaging 18.8. Only Denver University has managed to outduel SJSU's bench in scoring this year. Jalen James (6-4, Jr., G, Chicago, Ill.) and Terrell Brown (6-2, Fr., G, Hayward, Calif.) are the top-two scoring reserves at 9.5 and 7.0 points per game respectively.
 
CLARKE SCORING IN MORE WAYS
Brandon Clarke was good enough to be the Mountain West's Sixth Man of the Year last season. This year he's off to an even better start in his new role as the starting big-man. Clarke is shooting 51.4 percent (36-70) from the field, and is the team's per-game scoring (14.3) and rebounding (7.7) leader. The second-year man from Phoenix, has created more shots for himself against defenders this year, while still cleaning up around the rim like he did all of last season.