TSX Files: SJSU lives and dies with 3-pointer

TSX Files: SJSU lives and dies with 3-pointer

San Jose State is built to live off the 3-point shot, but the needed accuracy isn't going to be there every night.

Through 15 games, the Spartans were taking 24.1 shots per game from the behind the arc, which was more than anybody else in the WAC and one of the biggest numbers in the nation. They went cold from the field against Hawaii, though, losing 82-69 on Jan. 7 when they managed to make only 4 of 19 3-point attempts.

"We have a similar quality as last year, where we were hard to shake," Nessman told the Bay Area Sports Group. "Three or four possessions, we'd knock down some 3s and were right back in the game."

San Jose State (6-9 overall, 0-1 WAC) does have a dangerous quality to it, but victories haven't come in great quantity despite the barrage of 3-point attempts. Guard James Kinney leads the way by hitting 42.3 percent (44 of 104), but the team mark of 34.5 percent was merely average.

The lack of scoring punch from the outside hurt the Spartans vs. the Warriors.

"We started out poorly in both halves and they were very good," Nessman said. "Hawaii defended us very well. It's hard for us to win when we don't make more than four 3-pointers."

NOTES, QUOTES

Carter gets rare 20-20 double-double at Hawaii

--Senior post Wil Carter had a monster game at Hawaii on Jan. 7, setting personal bests with 21 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to the Warriors. The last time a SJSU player reached 20 rebounds came exactly 31 years to the day when Chris McNealy had 21 vs. Utah. Carter's contributions included 12 offensive boards. He was 9 of 12 from the foul line, too.

"He got a lot of those points from the foul line, but he did a monster job," Hawaii coach Gib Arnold said. "It seemed like every time I looked up, Carter got an offensive rebound and we fouled him."

--San Jose State will retire the No. 45 jersey of Darnell Hillman on Feb. 4 during the home game against Hawaii. Hillman, a 6-foot-9 native of Sacramento who played at SJSU in the late 1960s, went on to a 10-year career in the ABA and NBA. He averaged 15.3 points and 14.2 rebounds for the Spartans in the 1968-69 season.
--Sophomore G Keith Shamburger earned his first WAC Player of the Week honors when he won the award for the week of Dec. 26-Jan. 1. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in two games, leading SJSU to the title of the Elgin Baylor Classic in Seattle.

BY THE NUMBERS: Minus-4.5 -- San Jose State's rebounding margin entering the week, which ranked last in the WAC. True to form, the Spartans were out-rebounded 44-39 in their league opener at Hawaii, despite grabbing 20 offensive boards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Keith is a budding star. He's getting comfortable with the controls of the team." -- Coach George Nessman, on sophomore PG Keith Shamburger.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

--at Nevada, Jan. 12
KEY MATCHUPS: San Jose State is going to have trouble with the hottest team in the league, one that is coming off a huge win at Utah State. In particular, the Spartans don't have enough in the frontcourt to handle Dario Hunt, Olek Czyz and the Pack's overall length. Everything is working against SJSU here -- talent, location, momentum and size.

--at Fresno State, Jan. 14
KEY MATCHUPS: This will be a guard-oriented matchup, as a small Fresno State team is led by sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe, who entered the week averaging 18.0 points per game, second in the WAC. These are the two worst rebounding teams in the conference, but the edge inside should go to SJSU because of Wil Carter. If he asserts himself, the Spartans have a chance to come away with a road win in this area rivalry.

FUTURES MARKET: Will San Jose State see more trick defenses in the future? Hawaii went with a triangle-and-two, focusing on stopping SJSU's high-scoring guards James Kinney and Keith Shamburger. It worked, as Kinney and Shamburger were 5 of 19 from the field, combining for 17 points -- 14 points below their combined average. Hawaii schemed other ways to take away the outside shot and turn up the pressure on Kinney and Shamburger. "We had a good defensive game plan," said Hawaii coach Gib Arnold. "I thought we were frustrating them. We did things different on defense and when they missed, that led us out to baskets early."

PLAYER NOTES

--Senior post Wil Carter has grabbed 45 rebounds in the past three games. "After a rough stretch, he's really playing with a lot of intensity lately," coach George Nessman said.
--G James Kinney was all over the WAC stats at the beginning of the WAC, ranking third in scoring (16.3), second in free throw shooting (86.7 percent) and second in steals (1.5 per game), among other categories.
--C/F Chris Cunningham transferred to San Jose State from Santa Clara over the summer. Cunningham (6-8, 225) averaged 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds a game for Santa Clara. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining after he sits out in 2011-12.



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