MBB Opens WAC Play At Texas State Saturday

Next Game: Sat., Dec. 29 at Texas State (4-8) San Marcos, Texas 2:00 p.m. CST/12:00 p.m. PST KLIV 1590 AM, KSJS 90.5 FM
SPARTANS OPEN WAC SEASON IN TEXAS:  San Jose State opens Western Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon with a meeting at Texas State.  This will be the first of two meetings as the two teams will open and close WAC play with games this season. The Spartans bring a 5-5 record into WAC play and are looking to break a two-game losing streak after falling to James Madison, 77-68, last Saturday night at the Vegas Hoops Classic in Las Vegas.
LIVE STATS:  All games will have live stats available on the Spartan website at www.SJSUSpartans.com and go to “Live Stats.” 
RADIO COVERAGE:   Saturday’s game will be broadcast on KLIV 1590 AM as well as KSJS 90.5 FM.  It is the fourth of 10 games to be live on KLIV this season.  A complete listing can be found on page 4.  Justin Allegri will call the action.  The pregame show on KLIV will start 30 minutes prior to tip.  All San Jose State men’s basketball broadcasts will be on KSJS, 90.5 FM, with pregame shows during the week starting 15 minutes prior to tip.  
FACEBOOK/TWITTER:  Follow the Spartan men’s basketball team and all San Jose State athletics teams on the web.  Join the official SJSU Spartans page on Facebook and read the latest tweets on Twitter @SJSUAthletics.  
ABOUT TEXAS STATE:  The Bobcats enter Saturday’s game with a 4-8 record after playing the past three games on the road. The team lost at Central Michigan, 92-80 on Dec. 20, and fell at Northwestern, 74-68, on December 17.  This will be the first-ever WAC game for Texas State after leaving the Southland Conference. Head coach Doug Davalos is in his seventh year at the school.   Matt Staff leads the nation in free throw percentage at 1.000 as he is 34-for-34 at the line this season.  He leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game.  Joel Wright leads the team in rebounding at 6.7 per game, averages 15.4 points per game and has a team-best 51 assists. This is the first meeting between the two teams.
SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH:  George Nessman begins in his eighth season as head coach at San Jose State.  He has an 82-146 record in eight seasons with the Spartans.
LAST TIME OUT: The Spartans fell to James Madison, 77-68, at the Vegas Hoops Classic played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  LaVanne Pennington made his first start of the year and led the team with 16 points including 3-for-7 from three-point range.   Three other Spartans also scored in double figures.  D.J. Brown had 15 points and was 8-for-10 from the free throw line.  He also added eight assists in 39 minutes of action.  Xavier Jones came off the bench to score 11 points as he was 4-for-6 from the field.  Chris Jones also came off the bench and scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Alex Brown led the Spartans with eight rebounds, score eight points and blocked a shot.
WAC OPENERS:  For the third consecutive year, the Spartans will open the WAC season on the road.  In 2012, the team lost at Hawaii, 82-69, on January 7.  The 2010-11 season found San Jose State opening the WAC schedule at Fresno State with a loss, 75-62, on December 29.  The Spartans last won a WAC opener on January 4, 2012, when the team won 78-75, in a home game with Idaho.  
NATIONAL RANKINGS:  As of December 23, four Spartans rank in the top-75 in six categories.  James Kinney is fourth in scoring at 22.6 points per game, tied for 11th in steals at 2.78 per game and tied for 58th in three-point field goals per game at 2.67 pg..  D.J. Brown is tied for 48th in field throw percentage at 87.8 percent.  Chris Cunningham is tied for 45th in rebounds at 9.1 per game and tied for 36th in double-doubles with 4.  Alex Brown is tied for 32nd in blocked shots at 2.4 per game. As a team, the Spartans are 36th in rebound margin at 7.4, and 73rd in three-point percentage at 36.7 percent and blocked shots at 4.5 per game.
WIPING THE GLASS CLEAN:  The Spartans grabbed a season-high 59 rebounds in the win over Sacramento State.  The team outrebounded the Hornets, 59-34. Chris Cunningham led the team with 17 boards including 10 offensive rebounds.  Nine of the 10 players who saw action had at least one rebound. This season San Jose State has outrebounded their opponents by an average of 7.4 rebounds per game.  The only game the Spartans were outrebounded came against Weber State (34-39).
SEASON-LOW TURNOVERS:  The Spartans committed a season-low 10 turnovers in loss to James Madison at Las Vegas.  The previous was 12 at UC Davis when the team had just four turnovers in the second half en route to a victory.

MORE BLOCKS ALREADY THIS YEAR: Just 10 games into the 2012-13 season, San Jose State is showing its added height this season is paying off defensively.  The team has recorded 45 blocks, surpassing last year’s total of 38 blocks in 31 games, and has at least two blocked shots in every game.  The 2010-11 team had 82 blocks.  The season school record for blocks is 106 blocks in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.   Individually, Alex Brown leads the team with 24 blocks and has had at least one in all 10 games.  The individual season record is 62 set by Gerald Thomas in 29 games during the 1987-88 season.
STARTING LINEUPS:  The Spartans have used three starting lineups this season.  In eight of the 10 games, D.J. Brown, James Kinney, Chris Jones, Chris Cunningham and Alex Brown have been on the floor for the opening tip.  At Montana State, Louis Garrett started for Jones who was ill. The most recent lineup featured D.J. Brown, LaVanne Pennington (making his first start), Garrett, Cunningham and Alex Brown.
PENNINGTON MAKES MOST OF FIRST START: Senior guard LaVanne Pennington started his first game of the season against James Madison  He led the team in scoring with a career-best 16 points, including 3-for-7 from three-point range and 3-of-3 from the free thow line. Pennington played just 26 minutes as a leg cramp kept him out of the final eight minutes of the game. Pennington is averaging 6.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game coming off the bench.  He scored 13 points in the loss at New Orleans where was 6-for-10 from the field including 1-for-3 from three-point range.  Pennington added 11 points at Montana State where he was 3-for-6 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line.
CUNNINGHAM CLEANING THE GLASS:  Chris Cunningham leads the team with 91 rebounds and averages 9.1 per game, tying for 45th in the country.  He had five consecutive games with double-digit rebounds - 18 against UC Santa Cruz , 11 at #10 Kansas, 10 at Montana State and at UC Davis and 17 against Sacramento State. Cunningham has grabbed 10 offensive rebounds against the Hornets, six offensive rebounds at UC Davis and five offensive rebounds against UC Santa Cruz and Kansas.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES:  Xavier Jones and Chris Jones (no relation) each came off the bench and scored season bests of 11 points against James Madison.  Xavier was 4-for-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line in 19 minutes of action.  Chris was 4-for-9 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
KINNEY NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAM:  Senior guard James Kinney received second-team Preseason All-WAC honors as voted upon by the league’s coaches.  He led the Spartans in scoring for the 2011-12 season and scored 30 or more points in two games last year.
SPARTANS IN THE WAC PRESEASON POLL:  The San Jose State men’s basketball team picked ninth in the 2012-13 Western Athletic Conference coaches and media polls.  San Jose State returns three starters from last year’s team – James Kinney, D.J. Brown and Stephan Smith.  The Spartans have six new players including Santa Clara transfer Chris Cunningham and guard Xavier Jones.
2013 WAC TOURNAMENT:  The 2013 WAC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 12 and 14-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  All 10 team advance to the tournament, with teams 7-10 playing on the 12th, and the eight remaining teams in the tournament playing on the 14th.  The championship game will be shown live on ESPNU on the 16th at 8 p.m. PST.
WAC TOURNAMENT TICKETS ON SALE:  All-session tickets for the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament set for March 12-16 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., are available for purchase through the Spartan Athletics Ticket Office. All-session tickets include access to each men’s and women’s tournament game, totaling 18 games in 10 sessions.
UP NEXT:  San Jose State continues on the road with a game on New Year’s Eve.  The Spartans will travel down Interstate 35 to play at UTSA Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST/12 p.m. PST.
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