Nevada (20-4) at San Jose State (8-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 11:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: Nevada 12-2, SJSU 6-5. Away Record: Nevada 7-1, SJSU 1-11. Neutral Record: Nevada 1-1, SJSU 1-0. Conference Record: Nevada 9-1, SJSU 1-8. Series Record: Nevada leads, 49-47.
GAME NOTES: With their first Western Athletic Conference win now in the books, the San Jose State Spartans face their toughest test as they host the Nevada Wolf Pack tonight at The Event Center.
The Spartans lost their first eight conference games of the campaign, but on Thursday night they snapped a three-game slide by surviving a 79-71 double- overtime affair versus Fresno State. Still all alone in last place in the conference standings, SJSU is now gunning for back-to-back wins for just the second time this season and the first since defeating Coppin State and Seattle University at the end of December.
Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack rebounded from their first loss in more than two months last weekend by taking down Hawaii out on the island two nights ago, 88-79. The victory was the 17th in the last 18 contests for Nevada, the team still holding sole possession of first place in the WAC at an impressive 9-1.
Nevada has won nine straight in the series with the Spartans and all but one of the last 20 matchups overall, thanks in part to an 81-57 blowout in the first meeting of the season in Reno last month. However, even though the Pack has completely dominated the relationship in recent years, they lead the all- time series by a mere two games, 49-47.
Nevada trailed by six points early in the second half against Hawaii on Thursday night, but the team then held the hosts to just 39.4 percent shooting from the floor in the period in order to bounce back and swing the momentum in their direction. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Deonte Burton with 20 points, followed by Malik Story with 19 and both Olek Czyz and Dario Hunt with 15 points apiece, the latter capturing a hefty 17 rebounds as the Pack beat up Hawaii on the glass, 46-27. Jerry Evans tacked on 13 points for the group as well. Through 10 conference games, the leading scorer for the Pack is Burton with his 18.8 ppg, shooting a robust 44.3 percent from three- point range, while Story has knocked down 40.6 percent of his three-point tries in order to generate 14.7 ppg himself. Czyz (13.2 ppg) and Hunt (9.2 ppg) have combined for close to 17 rebounds per contest, but both are shooting no better than 50 percent at the free-throw line and that has brought the entire group down to a disappointing 61.6 percent at the charity stripe in league play.
It took some extra effort and an additional 10 minutes of playing time, but the Spartans finally got that all-elusive first win in WAC play on Thursday night thanks to Wil Carter who put up a double-double consisting of 23 points and 12 rebounds as he knocked down all but one of his 10 field goal attempts for the hosts. Keith Shamburger showed signs of life with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while D.J. Brown dropped in 12 points for a team that survived just 5-of-22 shooting behind the three-point line by limiting the Bulldogs to just 34.7 percent from the floor overall and 5-of-26 shooting beyond the arc. James Kinney, the leading scorer for the group on the season with his 15.9 ppg, made only 2-of-11 from the floor, including 1-of-7 behind the three-point line, as he tallied a mere seven points. Shamburger, just 32.5 percent accurate from the field and a 29.6 percent shooter from the floor overall this season, is responsible for 13.6 ppg, but perhaps more importantly he has been the one keeping teammates involved in the action with his 123 assists.
Finally breaking through to the win column in conference play should certainly give the Spartans some confidence, but the bottom line here is that Nevada simply has too much firepower to be stopped right now.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Nevada 91, San Jose State 72
02/11 10:57:37 ET