MBB Opens Basketball Doubleheader With Life Pacific College

Brandon Clarke has settled into a solid role player off the bench for the Spartans over the last three games.
Dec. 22, 2015

SPARTANS HAVE A QUICK TURNAROUND
The San José State men’s basketball team opens up a doubleheader day at the Event Center at noon PST, Tuesday, December 22. The Spartans hope to win their fifth game of the season when Life Pacific College of the NCCAA comes into town. It will be the team’s final tune-up before starting Mountain West play on December 30 versus Utah State.
 
GAME #12
San José State (4-7) vs. Life Pacific College (1-14)
Tuesday, December 22, 12:00 p.m. PST
The Event Center (5,000)
San Jose, Calif.
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SECOND-HALF LEAD SLIPS AWAY IN LOSS AT SEATTLE U
The Spartans had a 12-point lead on the road in the second half at Seattle U, but a 15-3 run erased that lead and SJSU fell in the final minute, 67-64. The Spartans had 18 turnovers in the ballgame and went 7 of 14 from the line. Isaac Thornton scored a career-high 17 points on 8 of 12 shooting. His 39 minutes was also a career-high.
 
SPARTANS TURN TO EXPERIENCE
Isaac Thornton is SJSU’s most experienced player with 71 games played and 46 starts in his career. After starting the year as a role player off the bench, his role has changed in the last two games into a starter who averaged 30.5 minutes. Thornton captained the offense from the point guard position in both the Montana State and Seattle U games. While SJSU lost both of those games, the 6-foot-2 Thornton shot 10 of 15 from the floor, averaged 13 points, four assists and 2.5 steals.
 
WHO IS LIFE PACIFIC
Life Pacific College is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association’s (NCCAA) Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. The Spartans faced Pacific Union college, also of the PCAC in the exhibition game before this season. The warriors’ only win of the year came against Antelope Valley College, which SJSU also faced this season. Life Pacific College, located in San Dimas, Calif., comes in with a 1-14 overall record and are coming off of a 95-48 loss at UC Riverside.
 
SCHWARTZ SETTLING IN
Cody Schwartz has bounced back nicely from a tough start to his first season as a Spartan. In the last five games, the West De Pere, Wis., native is averaging 10.6 points and 3.4 rebounds. He is shooting 44 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc during that stretch. In the first five games, Schwartz was 3 of 16 from the floor, and 15 of the 16 shots were from downtown. He also bricked all six of his free throw shots in the first five games. But he has also found his stoke at the free throw line, making 12 of his last 13 heading into Sunday's game at Seattle U.
 
WELAGE REMAINS ONE OF THE TOP FRESHMEN IN THE MW
Freshman forward Ryan Welage is currently fourth among freshmen in the Mountain West at 10.3 points per game. He is close behind Nevada's Cameron Oliver (10.5) and UNLV's Derrick Jones, Jr. (10.8), while SDSU's Jeremy Hemsley leads all freshmen in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Welage, a native of Greensburg, Ind., leads all freshmen with 16 made threes and joins UNLV's Stephen Zimmerman as the only two freshmen with multiple double-doubles this season.
 
CONFERENCE PLAY IS LOOMING
Nothing would help the Spartans more than going into conference play with a head of steam, and a win on Tuesday would help them do just that. A victory will pull the team to 5-7 and with a matchup against NCCAA member Life Pacific College in the preseason finale, the Spartans have a shot at going into conference play with six wins.
 
SPARTANS SHOW THEIR GRIT IN LOSS AT MARQUETTE
The Spartans found themselves down 24 points just 10 minutes into the game at Marquette Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Instead of packing it in, SJSU stages a comeback, outscoring the Golden Eagles by 15 over the next 10 minutes and went into the locker down by nine. Cody Schwartz's conventional three-point play early in the second half cut the lead to six, but Marquette would end up pulling away for an 80-62 victory. SJSU is now 0-2 versus Marquette and 0-4 against "the seven" in the Big East.
 
CLARKE BRINGS ENERGY OFF THE BENCH
Freshman forward Brandon Clarke entered the game Tuesday and scored six points in less than three minutes with a pair of jumpers and a slam dunk. His up-and-under two-handed slam in the second half was one of the top plays throughtout the first 10 games. Clarke helped spark the run, which cut Marquette's 24-point lead down to six, and he finished the game with a season-high 10 points.
 
USING MARQUETTE AS A LESSON FOR CONFERENCE PLAY
Head coach Dave Wojcik said after Tuesday's game that playing a team like Marquette makes for a good test before entering conference play. "This was a good experience for our young guys," Wojcik said. "We are going to continue building our schedule with these games each year." It was only the program's fourth game against "the seven" from the big east.