Monday, December 8, 2008

San Jose State wins 56-52

It was another grinder, a battle going back and forth between visiting San Jose State and San Diego of the West Coast Conference and seemingly to be decided by whoever made the last basket.

That description turned out to be the very truth. The final 40 or so seconds of the game became the 'Justin Graham Show' as the sophomore guard nabbed two steals in those 40 seconds and turned those into the winning basket and two subsequent free throws that produced the margin in the 56-52 victory.

Here's how it came down:

With the scored knotted at 52 apiece, Chris Oakes knocked the ball out of bounds at the 1:12 mark although there was a difference of opinion among two of the referees as to who really touched it last. San Diego then missed on a long jumper but the errant attempt produced a long rebound that the Toreros corraled. But with 43 seconds remaining, Graham stole the ball and SJSU called a timeout. Graham then eventually scored on a driving scoop shot with 10 seconds left.

That put the Spartans up by two.

The Toreros inbounded and called time with 6.7 showing on the clock. On the subsequent inbounds play, Graham hounded former Riordan High star Rob Jones, came away with the ball and was fouled. His shots at the foul line upped the San Jose State lead to four and a Torero three-point attempt missed at the buzzer.

Major props also quite deservedly go to Tim Pierce who was not a scoring factor in the first half yet more than made up for that by finishing strong with a team-leading 23 points, aided by making five of six three-pointers.

Oakes provided yet another double-double with 16 points (7-12 shooting) and 14 rebounds. He also swatted five San Diego shot attempts.

Graham also contributed six assists and a total of five steals.

The Spartans shot 46% on the night (20-44) and went 5-9 on threes, all five courtesy of Pierce in the second 20 minutes.

In a strong second half, SJSU went 10-20, including 5-6 on threes and also nailed all six free throw attempts.

It was 27-25 in favor of San Diego at the half. Chris Oakes led the way for San Jose State with 12 points, with the team shooting 42% in the initial 20 minutes.

The Spartans jumped out to an early 11-2 lead before San Diego began managing any sort of point production. Even with the San Jose State lead, each squad was less than stellar early offensively with more turnover than a Donald Trump organizational chart.

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