According to the ESPN.com boxscore, the Broncos outscored the Spartans in: field goals made (Boise 43.1% vs. San Jose 37.6%), three-pointers made (37.5% vs. 31.3%), and especially offensive rebounds (18 vs. 9) and steals (10 vs. 3). In overall rebounds though, SJSU had 50 vs. Boise's 40 and made 77.1% of their free throws compared to Boise making 68.9%. With these statistics, it's no wonder how SJSU's shot-clock stalling in the fourth overtime failed them as they couldn't manage to return offensive results from defensive plays (something that happened throughout the game as they kept allowing Boise to make three-point shots while missing their own shots).
The blog Spartan Hoops has a fuller recap of yesterday's heartbreaking game; as announcer Mike Chisholm said on KSJS, given how long the game was running either team would be very disappointed if losing. Spartan Hoops previews Saturday's SJSU home game vs. the University of Idaho Vandals better than I can do.
As of today, the SJSU Spartans are 8-6 overall and 0-3 in Western Athletic Conference play. A sign of doom? Depends on whether the team can get their act together and make a huge comeback this season. And how do the first three games predict the rest of the season?
- Boise State (9-7, 0-3 WAC start): 15-17 overall with 5-11 in WAC play...one fewer conference win yet one more overall win than SJSU had last year.
- Fresno State (10-7, 3-0): 10-7 overall at this time, the Bulldogs ended 15-17 of all regular season games and 7-9 in the WAC.
- Hawaii (8-8, 1-2): 10-20 (3-13), the worst of the WAC 2009-2010.
- Idaho (8-6, 1-2): a similar start to ours, Idaho ended up 15-16 and 6-10.
- Louisiana Tech (15-2, 3-0): 23-10 (9-7); 2nd round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament.
- Nevada (10-6, 2-1): Finished the season 20-12 (11-5 WAC); made the 2nd round of the National Invitational Tournament.
- New Mexico State (9-7, 2-1): 22-11 (11-5); WAC champions; 1st round of the NCAA tournament
- Utah State (11-6, 1-2): That first win began a 14-game winning streak that helped the Aggies make the WAC tournament final and secure a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Adrian Oliver, the star senior SJSU guard who transferred from the University of Washington, has said that his goal this year is to take SJSU to the NCAA tournament. By the way, in yesterday's game, Oliver fouled out before overtime began. It's gonna be a long way to go, realistically:
- The last time SJSU made the NCAA tournament was in 1996 (at the time SJSU were Big West Conference champions but got eliminated in the first round by eventual national champions Kentucky, 110-76).
- The last time SJSU finished a season above .500 was 2000-2001.
- The last time SJSU made it to the second round of their conference tournament (having been WAC members since the '96-'97 season) was in 2008 (a much-improved season from last, at 13-19 overall, 4-12 WAC, compared to the 2006-2007 lowly 5-25 and 4-12 WAC).
The rest of the month's schedule: SJSU visits Louisiana Tech on the 13th...and gosh, Louisiana Tech is off to a bad start right now (9-8 and 0-3, including a home loss yesterday to Fresno State). Saturday the 15th, SJSU visits defending champion New Mexico State; last January 23, SJSU made a comeback victory over NMSU at home, 93-84. Man! What happened to those Aggies? As of today NMSU is 7-9 overall and 1-1 in WAC (including a road loss in Boise State 81-78 on New Year's Eve). The Spartans get 8 days off before visiting Hawaii, which finished disgracefully bad last year and doesn't look so good right now (9-5 and 0-2). SJSU faces WAC runner-up Utah State once again in San Jose on the 27th...having lost to the Aggies in Utah 80-71 on New Year's Eve. The following Saturday, state rival Fresno State comes to San Jose.
Sure, Spartan seniors Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham are great scorers, as are Will Carter, freshman Keith Shamburger, and even rising benchers Calvin Douglas and Chris Jones. But given their shaky WAC start it's time for SJSU to start strategizing on defense: better guarding, maybe some steals now and then, and offensive rebounds too, to get second chances on missed shots. Otherwise, Oliver's dream won't come true, and it'll be yet another disappointing mediocre season for sixth-year coach George Nessman.