Spartans' trio not enough in loss

Special to Inside Sparta
Posted Mar 3, 2012


Three San Jose State players accounted for 56 of the Spartans' 61 points and it simply wasn't enough offense to overcome Utah State on March 1. The visiting Aggies got 26 points from Preston Medlin and a 71-61 win over San Jose State.



James Kinney had 24 points, Wil Carter scored 19 and Keith Shamburger had 13 for San Jose State (9-20, 1-12 WAC).

The Spartans made some runs but every time they hit a big shot or got something rolling, Medlin and the Aggies would quickly respond at the other end. The Spartans continue to have lapses in games where they don't play smart basketball. It happened on the defensive end on Thursday night and the Aggies made them pay.

The Spartans stayed in the game but it never really seemed like they would win this game -- a common theme this season for San Jose State. The Spartans, who outrebounded the visitors 34-21 and 15-4 on the offensive glass, again played hard but sometimes talent prevails.

San Jose State will wrap up its WAC regular-season schedule on Saturday at home against Idaho (16-12 overall, 7-5 WAC). The Vandals, who played March 1 at Hawaii, had won five straight before losing at Utah State on Feb. 24.

How do the Spartans stack up nationally? As one would expect, it's not pretty. San Jose is 156th overall in points per game (68.9), 217th in rebounds per game (33.7) and 319th in field-goal percentage (39 percent).

Not a lot of good has happened for San Jose State during this season's WAC regular-conference schedule. But they have been solid at the free-throw line. San Jose State leads the conference and is 31st nationally in team free-throw accuracy at 74.5 percent. Last season, the Spartans made a school-record 75.4 percent of their free-throw attempts. The Spartans were 12 of 14 at the line on Thursday.

NOTES, QUOTES

Bad shooting equals just 49 points

--When San Jose State scored 49 points in a loss at Louisiana Tech on Feb. 23, it marked the Spartans' lowest point total of the conference schedule and the team's third-lowest output of the season. As often has been the case, SJSU was undone by poor shooting -- 17 of 49 (34.7 percent) vs. the Bulldogs. "Louisiana Tech's pressure and traps really bothered us," said coach George Nessman.

--The Spartans will say goodbye to four players on Senior Night against Idaho on March 3. They are: PF Wil Carter, C Matt Ballard, G Calvin Douglas and F Garrett Ton. Carter entered the final week of the regular season as the team's third-leading scorer (12.9 points per game), while Douglas was fifth (6.1).

--Here is one thing that has gone right for San Jose State and helped the Spartans compete: They led the WAC in free throw shooting, making 74.5 percent through Feb. 25.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11.1 -- Average turnovers per game for San Jose State through Feb. 25. That was the second-lowest figure in the WAC.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Fighting back isn't just about getting intense. It's about playing better basketball." -- SJSU coach George Nessman.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAMES:

--vs. Idaho, March 3

KEY MATCHUPS: Idaho big man Kyle Barone will be a worry for San Jose State. Barone had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Vandals won the first meeting of the season with the Spartans. He's a long, versatile big man who can beat defenders with the shot, the pass or on the drive. He entered the week with a career shooting percentage of 57.9 and should take advantage of a poor SJSU defense.

FUTURES MARKET: G D.J. Brown has had a solid freshman season, entering the week averaging 8.3 points and putting another decent 3-point shooter on the court with James Kinney and Keith Shamburger. Brown had a 33-point game against Cal State-Bakersfield in January. After getting experience starting together this season, that trio should be even more prolific in 2012-13.

PLAYER NOTES

--Wil Carter has been pretty steady in the scoring column for the Spartans. The senior forward has scored 23, 12, 19, 17 and 19 in his last five games before March 1. He's also had eight or more rebounds in four of those five games and is averaging 13 points this season. When Carter gets good position down low and the ball in his hands he's tough to stop. He hit 6 of 8 shots, scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Thursday's loss to Utah State.

--James Kinney just can't find that consistency the Spartans would like to see. He scored a total of 16 points in the two recent road losses at Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. He had 19 points and 26 points in the two previous games before that which followed a seven-point performance against Fresno State on Feb. 9. The junior guard bounced back in a big way on Thursday. He was 4 of 9 on three pointers (10 of 20 overall) and finished with 24 points in the loss.





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