Fresno State (11-14) at San Jose State (7-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 10:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: WAC Sports Network. Home Record: FSU 8-2, SJSU 5-5. Away Record: FSU 2-10, SJSU 1-11. Neutral Record: FSU 1-2, SJSU 1-0. Conference Record: FSU 3-6, SJSU 0-8. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 79-74.
GAME NOTES: Still winless in Western Athletic Conference play this season, the San Jose State Spartans give it another shot tonight as they host the Fresno State Bulldogs at The Event Center.
Last weekend, the Spartans had one of their best chances to get into the win column against a conference foe, but after going to overtime versus visiting Hawaii, the team bowed by two points in an 83-81 decision. The loss was the third in a row and the eighth in the last nine outings, save for a 78-70 triumph versus Cal State Bakersfield at home on January 23.
Needless to say, San Jose State is all alone at the bottom of the WAC standings, although FSU is not all that far ahead with just three wins in nine chances.
The Bulldogs have put back-to-back efforts into the win column, the latest being a 60-54 victory against Utah State at home last Saturday. Considering they Aggies crushed FSU in the first meeting of the season a month earlier, 72-53, it was certainly a step in the right direction for the Bulldogs.
The home team has won the last five regular-season meetings in this series after the Bulldogs delivered an 82-73 victory at the Save Mart Center in the first matchup of the season last month. Overall, FSU owns a 79-74 advantage all-time against the Spartans.
A low-scoring first half was a perfect way for the Bulldogs to open against Utah State last Saturday, limiting the visitors to a total of just seven made field goals. USU came storming back in the second half with 54.2 percent from the floor, but luckily the five-point halftime advantage for FSU carried the hosts through to the win column. Kevin Olekaibe let loose with 21 field goal attempts, but this time he knocked down 10 as he finished with 26 points, while Jerry Brown and Tyler Johnson chipped in with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The big news from that meeting was that the Bulldogs turned the ball over a mere three times. Quite frankly, for a program that has won a total of just 11 games, it is surprising to find out that the Bulldogs are averaging less than 11 miscues per outing. Steven Shepp is the biggest culprit in that department with 54 turnovers, but he has easily offset those by handing out 117 assists and making 36 steals. Olekaibe, who has never met a shot he didn't like, continues to lead the team in scoring with 18.0 ppg.
In the first of three straight games at The Event Center, San Jose State went to overtime against Hawaii over the weekend and ended up absorbing a two-point loss even as the Spartans forced 18 turnovers and held the Warriors to just 7- of-22 shooting behind the three-point line. Except for Keith Shamburger who scored only five points on 1-of-9 shooting, but did make an impact with 12 assists, every SJSU starter scored in double figures beginning with Wil Carter who registered 22 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out. James Kinney added 21 points, D.J. Brown 18 and Stephon Smith 12 in the losing cause. Carter has averaged a double-double through eight conference games, posting 14.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per outing, but still it hasn't made enough of a difference. Kinney checks in with 16.3 ppg and Shamburger 10.6 ppg, combining for 63 assists in those eight setbacks as well. Opposing WAC teams are generating a hefty 79.2 ppg versus the Spartans, while SJSU is coming up with only 67.6 ppg while shooting 38.2 percent from the floor.
Obviously, the Spartans displayed their ability to put up significant points in their meeting with Hawaii, and can make it happen again against a Fresno State group that might be playing over its head at the moment.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 74, Fresno State 71
02/09 10:34:03 ET