Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A not-to-miss Rebounder get-together

Back by popular demand, the "Meet the Players Dinners" are back.

A number of requests have come in asking for the return of the "Meet The Players Dinners" so it is happening once again. Come join the Spartan juniors, seniors and coaches on Tuesday, January 5 at the Bold Knight Bistro.

This will be one of the most fun events that the Rebounders have each year so please do be there. This will be your chance to get to know the basketball student-athletes because you will be sitting at the dinner table alongside Adrian Oliver, Justin Graham, Jerelle Wilson, C.J. Webster, Chris Oakes, Mac Peterson and Robert Owens.

RSVP by January 1, 2010 @ 408-694-7631

Host:
Spartan Rebounders
Location: Bold Knight Bistro 840 North First Street (near Hedding)
When: Tuesday, January 5, 6:00PM

Social Hour begins at 6:00 p.m. with dinner following at 7:00 p.m.

The menu for the evening is a tender boneless breast of chicken, marinated with fresh garden herbs, served on a bed of pasta with fresh tomatoes and a touch of white sauce. Served with a tossed House salad with choice of Italian or Continental dressing.

Cost for the event is $20 for current Rebounder Members and $25 for Non-Members.

Again, please RSVP by January 1, 2010. Player sponsorships are always welcome.

We offer a hearty thank-you for your continued support.

Monday, December 28, 2009

San Jose State sweeps UC Irvine 78-68

On December 18, San Jose State took to the court of the Bren Center and won 69-56 over UC Irvine. Tonight, it was a rematch on Walt McPherson Court and the Spartans again came out on top, 78-68, versus the Anteaters.

Adrian Oliver led the way with 29 points. Justin Graham notched eight assists. Chris Oakes returned to action, posting six points and four boards in 19 minutes.

SJSU shot well all night, going 52% overall, 79% from the foul line and 60% from three-point range. In contrast, the Anteaters struggled with 42%, 39% and 28% respectively. That middle figure is not a typo.

UCI got the first possession and what then took place proved to be a telltale sign: the initial Anteater shot was an air ball. Before seven minutes were up, starting center Zack Atkinson incurred two fouls and had to sit. He ended up with one point in 10 minutes of play.

At the half, it was 41-35 in favor of SJSU.

The opening of the second 20 minutes had the Spartans playing strong. Oliver nailed a trey, C.J. Webster completed an old fashioned three-point play and Oliver followed with a dribble-drive lefthanded layup.

Irvine closed the lead to eight a few times but could never get any closer.

Eric Wise led the Anteaters with 31 points and seven boards. Wayne Hunter chipped in with 19, primarily on the basis of 5-12 long distance shooting.

Remarably, UCI scored four more baskets than San Jose State but it took 23 more shot attempts in order to do so. SJSU scored 16 more points at the foul line.

There were multiple factors at play in tonight's victory: often enough great spacing, confident looks, the ability of Oliver and Graham to go left and still score and the confidence that comes with experience.

NOTES

Mac Peterson and Adrian Oliver broke their consecutive made free throw streaks as the former went 4-5 and the latter 7-8.

Oliver damn near broke the ankles of his defender on one play -- let's just say his opponent was turned around completely on what looked like an outside shot, then morphed into a brief but tricky dribble-drive, followed by a reverse fadeaway jumper that netted three points. It's lucky the defender still had his shoes on after that sequence.

Idaho comes to town on January 4 to open WAC play.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Anteaters here Monday night

We have no evidence to confirm our proclamation but we'll still offer that nobody has ever used "madder than a pack of angry Anteaters" to describe any perturbed group.

So maybe new ground will be broken Monday night when UC Irvine takes to the floor at Walt McPherson Court in a rematch with San Jose State.

Why?

Consider this after-the-game comment from Irvine's top talent, Eric Wise: "We gave the game away...just a lack of execution, turnovers and no rebounding. They beat us, but we didn't help ourselves."

On December 18, UCI held a lead for the initial 28 minutes of the game but 12 second half turnovers, 31% team shooting and a 16-4 San Jose State scoring run led to a 69-56 Bren Center loss to the Spartans.

On that night, Adrian Oliver 31 points plus Justin Graham's 16 did the job, along with 50% shooting from the floor as a team. SJSU held the Anteaters to 37% overall shooting for the game.

We won't go so far as to call it a grudge match but, other than an expected big defeat at Texas, the 13-point loss to San Jose State is the worst for Irvine thus far. So there probably is a sticking-in-the-craw feeling motivating the Anteaters.

Yet on the other hand, their typical diet is ants and termites -- not Spartans.

It's the last game before both teams begin their respective conference schedules.

The Irvine Season to Date

11/15/09 at Texas L, 89-42
11/18/09 at Loyola Marymount W, 84-78

O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic
11/23/09 vs. UTSA Richmond, KY L, 66-56
11/24/09 vs. Eastern Kentucky Richmond, KY L, 67-57
11/25/09 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Richmond, KY W, 75-54

12/02/09 vs. Hawai'i W, 80-70
12/12/09 vs. Vanguard W, 81-73
12/15/09 at Seattle University L, 82-81
12/18/09 vs. San Jose State L, 69-56
12/21/09 vs. Pepperdine W, 74-61


The Anteater Starting Five

6-foot-9 Zach Atkinson - 9.2 ppg. and 4.8 rpg., shooting 58% on the season -- scored 12 points with three blocked shots last time against SJSU, was effective in the first half

6-foot-8 Pavol Lavonsky - 6.9 ppg., and 4.2 rpg.

6-foot-5 Eric Wise - leads the team in rebounding at 5.5 rpg., is second in scoring at 13.0, his 37 assists leads the team, was a pre-season All Big West selection -- scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and passed for four assists earlier against SJSU

6-foot-3 Darren Moore - 9.3 ppg., 3.2 rpg., his 37 free throw attempts are second on the team, has a team-leading 18 steals, shooting 43% from long range

5-10 Michael Hunter - the leading scorer at 14.6 ppg. and second in assists with 30, tops in three-point attempts with 74, Hunter led the squad in steals last season but is second so far in 2009-2010 -- scored 13 points against SJSU earlier, with three treys

The Calvary

6-foot-9 Peter Simek (has grabbed seven boards in each of the last two games, including the previous UCI-SJSU contest)

6-foot-0 Patrick Rembert

6-foot-2 Mike Wilder

6-foot-4 Emil Kim

6-foot-8 Adam Folker

6-foot-2 Derrick Strings


The Irvine Roster (by position)

Zack Atkinson 6-9 220 Center SR
Peter Simek 6-9 245 Center JR (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Adam Folker 6-8 220 Forward SO (Markham, Ontario)
Pavol Losonsky 6-8 235 Forward JR (Pezinok, Slovakia)
Rashaad Ubah 6-6 210 Forward SO
Eric Wise 6-5 235 Forward SO (his father Francois, is a former Long Beach Stater who is the 49ers' career leader in rebounds)
Derick Flowers 6-0 175 Guard FR
Michael Hunter 5-10 160 Guard SR
Emil Kim 6-4 200 Guard JR
Jonas Lalehzadeh 6-5 203 Guard
Darren Moore 6-3 185 Guard JR
Patrick Rembert 6-0 185 Guard JR
Brandon Scott 6-2 180 Guard FR (Archbishop Mitty HS)
Derrick Strings 6-2 180 Guard SO
Mike Wilder 6-2 205 Guard FR

What to Expect

* Besides 37% overall shooting in the loss to SJSU, Irvine shot but eight free throws and went 5-25 from long distance for the game

* Expect Coach Pat Douglass to hedge his perimeter defenders inside, daring SJSU -- other than Adrian Oliver -- to shoot from the perimeter -- Pac Peterson and Robert Owens will need to demonstrate their longrange shooting prowess

* Adrian Oliver is coming off a double-double of 23/12 against Santa Clara, 26 versus Northern Colorado, the aforementioned 31 earlier against UC Irvine and 30 matching up with Cal State Bakersfield, so he's back in form.

If the internet radio gods and goddesses permit and the planets are in alignment, KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) will originate the San Jose State University basketball broadcast, with Mike Chisholm calling the play-by-play. Air time is 6:30 p.m. for the UC Irvine game. As a backup, try kuci.org

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spartans win 74-68

Two miles or so separate San Jose State and Santa Clara University but the sports history between the basketball teams seems a distant memory as the Spartans now see Western Athletic Conference opponents as their primary rivals and the Broncos feel the same about West Coast Conference foes. Neither games at Walt McPherson Court nor at the Leavey Center between the schools pack in fans to the rafters.

But it's always fun to claim a win and establish so-called local annual superiority and San Jose State did just that Wednesday evening. Wearing their road blue uniforms, they left the Broncos blue by a score of 74-68.

At the half, Santa Clara led 30-25.

The Broncos then opened the difference to ten, 39-29, on a Ray Cowels trey, followed by a steal leading to a Niyi Harrison dunk.

Santa Clara enjoyed a 44-39 lead at the 11:23 mark but Mac Petersen apparently took insult of the situation. He hit four free throws and a layup, sandwiched in and around a Justin Graham layup, two foul shots by Adrian Oliver and a Robert Owens trey to boost San Jose State to a 54-47 lead.

Santa Clara battled back but three-pointers by Owens and then Peterson kept the Spartans ahead.

Back-to-back Bronco steals and points soon closed the gap to two -- 66-64, before Oliver hit a jumper with 40 seconds remaining.

Michael Santos of Santa Clara was fouled but hit just one of two foul shots and Oliver subsequently nailed both his free throws to make the score 70-65. Robert Smith made a layup for the Broncos but Oliver threaded another pair at the foul line, followed by a second twosome making it 74-68.

Oliver finished with a double-double of 24 points and 12 boards, Peterson concluded with 17 and Owens added 12.

+++++

Chris Oakes again wasn't available so Kyle Thomas started in his place and Peterson also was sent out as a member of the SJSU quintet for the initial jump ball. Oakes is sitting while a paperwork snafu is being appealed to the NCAA, an organization which makes molasses seems Usain Bolt-like and it being holiday time isn't making the situation any more expedient.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Clara. Leavey Center. 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

Yes, the late Jack Webb wrote our subject line. But we will take over from here.

Crosstown rivalries are always cool because the fans of both the teams we are referring to interact and intersect throughout Silicon Valley on a daily basis. Bragging rights at the water cooler or the latte maker are up for grab tomorrow night.

The Broncos are currently 6-5, coming off a 54-53 homecourt victory over Pacific:

"Bronco sophomore Marc Trasolini nailed two free throws with 12 ticks left and the Santa Clara defense stopped a last-second attempt to capture victory over Pacific at the Leavey Center. The Broncos avenged their 84-57 loss from Nov. 22 in Stockton.

"I am really proud of our effort tonight. We worked hard not to turn the ball over and did a better job of handling it. It's great to have the team out of school and rested. The guys are coaching themselves out on the floor right now. It's great to see them continue to grow," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "I would like to see Marc Trasolini shoot 10 three pointers a night. He is that good of a shooter. He just needs to work on his confidence and continue to shoot."

SCU shot 38.6 percent, including 40 percent beyond the arc. SCU had 30 rebounds, three blocks and four steals with 12 turnovers. Pacific shot 44.9 percent, including 30 percent beyond the arc. Pacific had 31 rebounds, four blocks and seven steals with 14 turnovers.

Trasolini led the Broncos with 17 points and five rebounds. Ben Dowdell finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Niyi Harrison also added seven points for the Broncos."

An important note: The most talented Bronco, 6-foot-2 guard Kevin Foster, fractured the fifth metatarsal of his left foot on December 19 and required surgery. He is probably out for the season but time will tell about that.

Bronco Schedule To Date

11/13/09 at Cal State Bakersfield W, 84-81
11/19/09 at San Diego State L, 86-53
11/22/09 at Pacific L, 84-57
11/25/09 vs. Northern Arizona L, 88-72
11/28/09 vs. Fresno State W, 74-67
12/01/09 at UC Santa Barbara W, 79-68
12/05/09 vs. UNLV L, 66-63
12/14/09 at Houston Baptist W, 68-65
12/16/09 at Rice L, 70-57
12/21/09 vs. Pacific W, 54-53

The Starting Quintet

*
6-foot-9 sophomore Marc Trasolini - 14.7 ppg., 6.7 rpg.

* 6-foot-7 freshman Niyi Harrison 7.6 ppg., 4.9 rpg. or 6-foot-8 freshman Chris Cunningham (both in-the-paint players)

* 6-foot-6 junior Troy Payne - 7 rebounds a game, 30 assists, 21 steals (all team-leading numbers), a JC transfer

* 6-foot-4 freshman Ray Cowls - 6.4 ppg., has taken the second most three-pointers on the team, shooting 27% on his treys

* 6-foot freshman Robert Smith - 10.8 ppg., 3.2 rpg., shooting 33% overall from the floor

The Calvary

*
6-foot-5 junior Michael Santos - more of a distance shooter than anything else

* 6-foot-7 junior Ben Dowdell - an all-around frontcourter, will get you some points and rebounds

* 6-foot-1 Troy Alexander - his numbers are down this season but he averaged 15 ppg. last year, starting seven games

The Bronco Roster by position

Troy Alexander Guard SO 6-1/180
Phillip Bach Guard SO 6-4/195
Kevin Foster Guard SO 6-2/220
Nate Mensah Guard JR 6-3/195
Kyle Perricone Guard FR 6-3/195
Michael Santos Guard JR 6-5/205
Robert Smith Guard FR 6-0/185

Ray Cowels Forward FR 6-4/205
Chris Cunningham Forward FR 6-8/230
Ben Dowdell Forward JR 6-7/225 (Australian Institute of Sport) there's that AIS again - St. Mary's has 3-4 players from there
Niyi Harrison Forward FR 6-7/220 (Bellarmine College Prep)
Troy Payne Forward JR 6-6/220
Marc Trasolini Forward SO 6-9/235

What To Expect

*
As a team, Santa Clara is shooting 40% to 44% for opponents

* On treys, the Broncos are at 30% to 38% for opposing teams

* But Kerry Keating's squad has shot 61 more free throws on the season, committing 47 less fouls

* From the Santa Clara athletics site: "The Broncos have been a tale of two teams this year. In the six wins, the Broncos averaged 15.8 turnovers per game, but in the five losses they are averaging 20.0 turnovers per game. In addition, the Broncos averaged 75.8 points per game in the six wins with the opponents scoring just 66.8. In the five losses Santa Clara averaged 60.4 ppg and the opponents have averaged 78.8 ppg"

Radio Coverage: KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts. Mike Chisholm calls the play-by-play. Air time is 6:30 p.m. (PST) for the Santa Clara contest. But if you cannot access the Spartan 'net broadcast, try KDOW (www.1220kdow.com) for a live netstreaming of the game

Monday, December 21, 2009

Northern Colorado proves too much

It's rare but sometimes the opening play in a game is a telltale sign. Host Northern Colorado began the match against San Jose State with a quick trey and such was a omen of things to come.

The contest remained close through the half but then the Bears exploded in the second half, finishing with a 93-69 victory

At the half, it was 38-33 in favor of Northern Colorado. C.J. Webster has 11 points and Adrian Oliver 10 after the first 20 minutes. Both teams shot 44% but the Bears shot 7-19 from three-point range.

UNC did jump out to that very early 3-0 lead but the Spartans then went on a 9-0 run. Northern Colorado went on an 8-0 run of its own to take back the lead at 17-15. SJSU tied it at 24 but the Bears grabbed the lead back and held on to it through the first half.

Things fell apart in the second half.

Northern Colorado jumped ahead 48-37 at the 15:48 mark. A Webster basket made it 55-45 and Oliver reduced the deficit to eight at 55-47 but the Bears went 7-9 on the second half shots, 3-4 on treys and it was 61-47 at the 11:30 mark. The Spartan deficit went to 20 with 5:40 remaining.

UNC went 18-37 on three-point shots for the night, making more baskets from long distance than they did inside the line (15). Backcourters Will Figures and Devon Beitzel each scored 24, going 6-11 and 6-8 respectively from long distance.

San Jose State shot 43% overall, 23-25 at the foul line and 4-10 on treys. Northern Colorado shot 53% overall, 9-12 from the charity stripe and the aforementioned 18-37 from long range.

AO is the WAC POW

Per the announcement by Jason Erickson, the WAC Director of Media Relations, SJSU's Adrian Oliver is the WAC Player of the Week:

San Jose State's Adrian Oliver has been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 14-20. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for Oliver.

Oliver, a junior guard from Modesto, CA helped the Spartans to a 69-58 win at UC Irvine. Oliver became just the second player in SJSU history to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games as he scored 31 points in the win at UC Irvine.

Oliver had one of his best shooting nights of the season, making 10-of-19 shots from the field, including a season-high 3-of-6 from beyond the arc as SJSU became the first team this season to beat the Anteaters at home. Oliver also connected on 8-of-10 attempts at the free throw line. He tallied eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in the win.

Other nominees:

* Boise State junior forward Daequon Montreal
* Fresno State sophomore guard Mike Ladd
* Louisiana Tech senior forward/center Magnum Rolle
* Nevada sophomore forward Luke Babbitt
* New Mexico State junior guard Jahmar Young
* Utah State junior forward Tai Wesley

Sunday, December 20, 2009

SJSU on the road Monday

Luckily, the road doesn't go on forever (sorry Robert Earl Keen) but it does continue in the near term for San Jose State basketball. On Monday, the Spartans face Big Sky Conference member Northern Colorado -- make that the 9-3 Bears.

Based 49 miles north-northeast of Denver, the University of Northern Colorado squad has a built-in advantage simply by being 4,600 feet above sea level. No, oxygen is not supplied to opponents at the benches a la the type of misters used by football teams on steamy days.

SJSU won the game between these two teams last season, 89-78. Adrian Oliver played in his first game for the Spartans in the contest played at the Civic Auditorium. San Jose State shot 67% to Northern Colorado's 55%. Backcourter Devon Beitzel bedeviled SJSU for 27 points on 12-14 shooting.

UNC is primarily a guard-oriented team, offering a lot of middle and long-distance shooting.

For what it's worth, both the Big Sky coaches and media placed the Bears sixth in pre-season polling.

NC Schedule To Date

Nov. 13 vs. McNeese St. @ Honolulu, Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 101-73
Nov. 15 vs. Southern Utah @ Honolulu, Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 73-51
Nov. 16 at Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 81-75
Nov. 20 vs. Texas Southern @ Air Force Academy, Colo. W, 66-62
Nov. 21 at Air Force W, 70-46
Nov. 27 at North Dakota W, 70-63
Dec. 1 Colorado State W, 70-63
Dec. 4 at Montana State L, 87-63
Dec. 5 at Montana W, 59-48
Dec. 12 vs. Wyoming @ Casper, Wyoming L, 76-70
Dec. 16 La.-Monroe W, 95-84
Dec. 19 at Oklahoma L, 80-79


The Bear Starting Five

6-foot-7 Taylor Montgomery - 8.8 and 4.3 points and rebounds a game respectively

6-foot-8 Mike Proctor - 8.2 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds while shooting 59% on the season

6-foot-1 Devon Beitzel - the second leading points producer at 13.7 a contest, 2.3 assists each time out, tops with 28 steals

5-foot-9 Will Figures - the leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, he's a scorer more than a shooter but is hitting 20-50 from long distance, 2.8 assists a contest is tied for team lead

6-foot-1 Yahosh Bonner - shooting 45% on his treys(13-29) but just 41% overall, very good defender, tied for lead in assists, he also sings the National Anthem at times before home games, Bonner was named the MVP in the Rainbow Classic

The Primary UNC Reserves

6-foot-8 Chris Kaba

6-foot-7 Neal Kingman

6-foot-1 Elliott Lloyd - 12-26 on his three-point attempts

The UNC Roster by position

Kevin Hanes C Freshman 6-10 200 (betcha he looks good in shorts)
Connor Osborne C Freshman 6-9 250

Emmanuel Addo F/C Freshman 6-8 215
Hauns Brereton F Freshman 6-6 205
Ben Jenkins F/C Senior 6-9 240 (Golden, CO - we best not leave a comment here)
Chris Kaba F Junior 6-8 185
Neal Kingman F Junior 6-7 220
Taylor Montgomery F/C Junior 6-7 235
Mike Proctor F/C Sophomore 6-8 225

Travess Armenta G Junior 6-0 190
Dave Arnold G Freshman 6-1 200
Mike Bedford G/F Freshman 6-4 175
Devon Beitzel G Junior 6-1 180
Yahosh Bonner G Senior 6-1 215
Will Figures G Senior 5-9 155
Lee Hall G Sophomore 5-8 155
Elliott Lloyd G Freshman 6-1 165
Tate Unruh G Freshman 6-2 155 (Branson, MO - meaning he can probably sing a bit, too)

What To Expect

* Northern Colorado is averaging 75 points per game so look for scoring in this contest-- the Bears are also out-shooting opponents from the floor and the foul line

* Bear fans stormed the court when UNC topped rival Colorado State on December 1 so they take their hoops serious in Greeley

* Northern Colorado won the Rainbow Classic earlier this year on the road when Hawaii fell to the Bears

* UNC is coming off an 80-79 road loss to Oklahoma where the Bears out-boarded the Sooners 40-31, shot 47% for the game and 41% from three-point range

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Due to technical difficulties

Well, we couldn't connect to the game last night as KSJS was having some technical difficulties -- we're hoping it wasn't on our end, so this is the best we could do for a media game report:
UC Irvines fades in the second half
Kenny Connolly
Orange County Register

IRVINE -- As the second half of UC Irvine's game against San Jose State progressed Friday, the frustration of Anteaters coach Pat Douglass became more and more evident.

The 12 second-half turnovers and 31-percent shooting were not the cause of Douglass' anger, though. Instead, it was a lack of effort he said he failed to see from his team.

UCI, which led for the first 28 minutes, saw a 10-point first half lead turn into a 69-56 loss at Bren Center.

"We started out good, but the last five or six minutes of the first half we lost all emotion, interest and focus in what we were doing," Douglass said. "We have played with effort most of the year, but why this happened, I don't have an answer for that."

The Anteaters (5-5) led for all but one possession of the first half, forcing the Spartans into eight turnovers and converting those mistakes into four easy baskets.

Irvine center Zack Atkinson scored 10 points and blocked three shots in the first half, giving UCI a 32-27 halftime lead.

But UCI was unable to keep that trend going into the second half.

"Defense is intensity, and the emotional involvement just wasn't there," Douglass said.

San Jose State (5-4) made two easy baskets in the opening minute of the second half to cut the deficit to one point. Anteaters guard Michael Hunter responded, draining two consecutive 3-pointers, extending the lead to 40-33 with just over 16 minutes left.

Over the next seven minutes, the Spartans went on a 16-4 run, grabbing a 49-44 advantage, their first lead since the opening minutes. San Jose guard Adrian Oliver spearheaded to comeback and added to the Spartans' lead, scoring 13 points over the final 13 minutes.

Over that span, San Jose scored points on 15 of their final 18 possessions, while UCI was limited to seven field goals down the stretch.

Adrian finished with a game-high 31 points and became the first Spartans player since 2005 to record consecutive 30 points games.

"We gave the game away," Wise said. "Just a lack of execution, turnovers and no rebounding. They beat us, but we didn't help ourselves."

The loss overshadowed a career night for Hunter. With his layup in the third minute, Hunter eclipsed the 1,000-point total over his time at Irvine, making him the 19th UCI player to reach the mark. Hunter finished with 13 points.

"He (Hunter) has been playing awfully well lately," Douglass said. "But when you have a performance like this, it's really hard to send praise onto anybody."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

San Jose State travels to Irvine Friday night

When we hear the name UC Irvine, we still think of Coach Bill Mulligan and the late Kevin Magee. Mulligan led the Anteater program from 1980 to 1991 and the 6-foot-8 Magee was his most prominent player. Both used to torment our Spartans at the Civic Auditorium.

But now UC Irvine is headed by Pat Douglass and San State ventures to Orange County Friday night to meet the Big Westers.

In one of those strange coincidences, Douglass led Cal State Bakersfield -- San Jose State's last opponent -- to three Division II national titles back in the 90s. Another obscure fact: Douglass was a backcourt teammate of current Pacific coach Bob Thomason when both played for the Tigers way back when.

More current, Donald Bren is the chairman and sole shareholder of the Irvine Company, which donated the land where the college is located. Hey, if you think Anteaters is peculiar, it could have been the Brens.

In showing the appropriate respect for all the financial donations, UC Irvine does play basketball in the on-campus Bren Events Center.

We totally digress for a moment but, for your next trivia game, the Irvine Company is the model for The O.C.'s "The Newport Group," and also inspiration for the Bluth Company on the late and much lamented television series "Arrested Development."

The Irvine Season to Date

11/15/09 at Texas L, 89-42
11/18/09 at Loyola Marymount W, 84-78

O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic
11/23/09 vs. UTSA Richmond, KY. L, 66-56
11/24/09 vs. Eastern Kentucky Richmond, KY. L, 67-57
11/25/09 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Richmond, KY. W, 75-54

12/02/09 vs. Hawai'i W, 80-70
12/12/09 vs. Vanguard W, 81-73
12/15/09 at Seattle University L, 82-81

The Anteater Starting Five

6-foot-9 Zach Atkinson - 9.0 ppg. and 4.6 rpg.

6-foot-8 Pavol Lavonsky - 7.4 ppg., and 4.4 rpg.

6-foot-5 Eric Wise - leads the team in rebounding at 5.4 rpg., is second in scoring at 12.9, his 39 assists leads the team, was a pre-season All Big West selection

6-foot-3 Darren Moore - 9.0 ppg. plus 33 free throw attempts (second on the team), a team-leading 16 steals

5-10 Michael Hunter - second leading scorer at 14.7 ppg. and tops in assists with 24, also tops in three-point attempts with 40, Hunter led the squad in steals last season but is second so far this season

The Calvary

6-foot-0 Patrick Rembert

6-foot-2 Mike Wilder

6-foot-4 Emil Kim

6-foot-8 Adam Folker

6-foot-2 Derrick Strings


The Irvine Roster (by position)

Zack Atkinson 6-9 220 Center SR
Peter Simek 6-9 245 Center JR (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Adam Folker 6-8 220 Forward SO (Markham, Ontario)
Pavol Losonsky 6-8 235 Forward JR (Pezinok, Slovakia)
Rashaad Ubah 6-6 210 Forward SO
Eric Wise 6-5 235 Forward SO (his father Francois, is a former Long Beach Stater who is the 49ers' career leader in rebounds)
Derick Flowers 6-0 175 Guard FR
Michael Hunter 5-10 160 Guard SR
Emil Kim 6-4 200 Guard JR
Jonas Lalehzadeh 6-5 203 Guard
Darren Moore 6-3 185 Guard JR
Patrick Rembert 6-0 185 Guard JR
Brandon Scott 6-2 180 Guard FR (Archbishop Mitty HS)
Derrick Strings 6-2 180 Guard SO
Mike Wilder 6-2 205 Guard FR

What to Expect

*
Even if SJSU doesn't get 'em in the O. C., Irvine will return the favor and be at Walt McPherson Court on December 28 for a 7 p.m. rematch.

* Irvine is a very good free throw shooting team at .768% and even the bigs are proficient at the foul line so limited fouling will be necessary for the Spartans to be victorious

* Against Hawaii, the Anteaters frontcourt shot 12-22 with Atkinson and Losonsky combining for 25 points as Irvine as a team shot 23-39. The Rainbow Warriors put up 19 more shots but made just one more basket

* Expect Douglass to hedge his perimeter defenders inside, daring SJSU -- other than Adrian Oliver -- to shoot from the perimeter.

KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts. Mike Chisholm calls the play-by-play. Air time is 6:30 p.m. for the UC Irvine game.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spartans win 84-80 in overtime

Hey, it was good. San Jose State didn't burst out to a large halftime lead -- not succumbing to that temptation.

It did take an overtime period to defeat Cal State Bakersfield 84-80 but the Spartans owned that -- make that Adrian Oliver took possession. In the extra period, he totaled four points to provide a quick 76-72 cushion. Cal State Bakersfield hit one of two free throws and Oliver followed with a 17-footer and eventually a 10-foot deuce. That proved too much for the Roadrunners.

Oliver finished with 30 points (plus 11 boards) while Chris Oakes double-dipped on 18 in both points and rebounds. Mac Peterson contributed 14.

In regulation play at the 7:36 mark of the second half, the score was 56 apiece.

San Jose State then built a 69-60 lead.

Bakersfield followed with a 10-0 run to take a one point lead at 70-69.

With 54 seconds remaining, Oliver nailed a three-pointer to make it 72-70 Spartans.

6-foot-8 pogo stick Donald Johnson then grabbed an offensive rebound and put it in to tie the score with 33 seconds remaining.

It was 72 apiece at the buzzer.

At the half, it was 35-31 in favor of the Spartans. The Roadrunners came out in a zone defensively and used aggressive offensive boardplay to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

It isn't true but it would be easy to believe that the Bakersfield offense is designed to get the ball up on the backboard and go for a close-in shot after grabbing the offensive rebound. With just 4:02 gone off the clock, the RRs had collected eight offensive boards.

Then it became the Chris Oakes Special. His rebounding, scoring and shotblocking propelled the Spartans to the lead which they maintained until 20 minutes of play had concluded.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday

So it's the Field of Bakers coming to town Wednesday night, specifically Walt McPherson Court, 7 p.m. The Roadrunners are struggling but is a team with a mix of talent and potential. As expected, Coach Keith Brown has encountered difficulty bringing in 'bigs' but he certainly has some players who can do damage.

Such as, from the 'We've Been Saving This For Quite A While' and 'The For What It's Worth' Departments comes this pre-season item from Rivals:

Rivals Independent Teams Preseason Picks
First team

F Trent Blakley, 6-4, Sr., CS Bakersfield
F Tyler Cain, 6-8, Sr., South Dakota
F Cecil Gresham, 6-5, Sr., Bryant
G Travis Bledsoe, 5-11, Sr., North Dakota
G/F Dana Smith, 6-5, Sr., Longwood

Rivals Independent Teams Preseason Picks
Second team

F Santwon Latunde, 6-6, Sr., CS Bakersfield
F Carl Montgomery, 6-7, Jr., Chicago State
F Mark Yelovich, 6-5, Soph., SIU Edwardsville
G Brian Fisher, 6-2, Sr., Winston-Salem State
G Nick Weiermiller, 6-1, Jr., UT Pan American


On January 12 of this year, Cal State Bakersfield won 61-55. The RR's grabbed 40 boards, including 19 offensively, to SJSU's 33. Forward Santwon Latunde led the way with 12 points (6-11 shooting) and nabbed nine rebounds.


Currently, CSUB is 1-5:

Nov 13 Santa Clara University 81 - 84 (L)

Nov 17 Utah Valley University 58 - 51 (W)

Nov 20 UCLA at Westwood, CA 64 - 75 (L)

Nov 30 Cal State Northridge at Northridge, CA 74 - 81 (L)

Dec 02 UC Riverside at Riverside, CA 47 - 87 (L)

Dec 06 Oregon State at Corvallis, OR 39 - 74 (L)


The Roadrunner Starting Five

Santwon Latunde
F 9.2 ppg. 8.8 rpg. (39 free throws attempts in six games)

Trent Blakley F 16.3 ppg. 5.0 rpg. (52 three-point attempts, hitting 30%, just one assist in six games)

Stephon Carter G 10.3 ppg. 4.5 rpg. (leads the team with 17 assists, best freshman recruit so far for Coach Keith Brown)

Donovan Bragg G 10.2 ppg. 3.2 rpg. (the best passer on the squad)

Bryan Emmanuel G (the best backcourt defender, started every game last season as a freshman)

Off The Bench

Donald Johnson
G

Jose Lara C

Cory Brown C - has been ill, unsure if he will be available



The Bakersfield Roster (by position)

Donovan Bragg G 6-3 196 Jr
Stephon Carter G 6-3 180 Fr
Bryan Emanuel G 6-2 200 So
Marcus Hall G 6-3 185 Fr
Robert Hayes G 5-10 186 Jr
Alex Johnson G 5-10 170 Jr
Jeff Osborne G 5-10 163 So
Chris Smith G 6-1 175 Jr (a bigtime junior college scorer, redshirted last season, has yet to play this season)

James Albright F 6-6 212 Fr (Fremont High, Oakland)
Trent Blakley F 6-4 220 Sr
George DeLeon F 6-4 200 Jr
Donald Johnson 6-8 215 So
Santwon Latunde F 6-6 262 Sr

Jose Lara C 6-8 280 Sr
Cory Brown C 6-10 223 Jr


What To Expect

* Bakersfield isn't shooting well as a team, just 34% overall and 29% on threes, scoring 61 ppg and allowing 75. Does San Jose State play man or zone or a mixture?

* The Spartans will look to pound it inside both for scoring purposes and to get the Roadrunner 'bigs' in foul trouble.

* Can Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham get their outside shooting going in this contest?

Coverage: KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts. Mike Chisholm will call the play-by-play and air time is 6:30 p.m.

USF wins 76-71

USF is the second oldest institution for higher learning in California. San José State University, of course, is California’s oldest institution of public higher learning. So the pecking order indicates rank goes to SJSU. Unfortunately, the score between the mens basketball teams on Tuesday night didn't indicate this as the Dons, based on a strong second half, won 76-71.

It was a definitive tale of two halves -- the best of times initially but the worst of times in the second one for Sparta.

At the end of the first 20 minutes, San Jose State led 34-23. Adrian Oliver started cold and then picked it up to finish with nine points. Robert Owens contributed eight at the half.

At the 11:47 mark, the Spartans led by one at 9-8. Soon it became 18-8. Later, a Justin Graham trey put San Jose State up by 13.

But the second half proved disconcerting for San Jose State. It was a combination of key turnovers translating into USF layups and dunks plus a definite lack of stops defensively by the Spartans.

USF edged closer as the second half opened and a 15-3 run put the Dons ahead.

The last few minutes had the Dons protecting a varying 6-9 point lead. Mac Peterson got a pair of treys to bring SJSU close -- the Spartans got to within four -- but USF made enough free throws to keep the lead comfortable.

Oliver led on the night with 17 points, Graham tallied 16. Dior Lowhorn led USF with 26 points. San Jose State shot 38.5% for the game to 48% for USF. The Dons were an en fuego 67% in the second half.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tripping to Foggyville Tuesday night

The atmosphere surrounded USF hoops is much more settled now with the naming of Rex Walters as head coach prior to last season. Such was a necessity as a credible coach and coaching situation needed implementation on the Hilltop so as to not eliminate the lifeblood of college athletics -- recruiting.

Yes, this 7 p.m. road game Tuesday night against the Dons is another matchup against a private school, a la Pacific and St. Mary's, one that has no restrictions on the number of out-of-state or foreign recruits. Coach Walters currently has two citizens of France and one from the Czech republic on his roster.

How has USF done to date? It is a young-ish roster -- 10 underclassmen -- also filled with newcomers and the overall record indicates such.

Schedule To Date

11-13-09
Cal Poly 73-62 W (Dior Lowhorn 22 points, Perris Blackwell/Kwame Vaugh 7 rebounds)

11-20-09 at Arizona State 65-104 L (Kwame Vaughn 17 points, Dior Lowhorn 4 rebounds)

11-23-09 UC Santa Barbara 65-76 L Dior Lowhorn 26 points, Dontae Bryant 7 rebounds)

11/25/09 Montana State 66-70 L (Dior Lowhorn 19 points , Dior Lowhorn 9 rebounds)

11/29/09 at Colorado State 75-91 L (Rashad Green 21, Dior Lowhorn 21 points/Rashad Green 7 rebounds)

12/01/09 at Colorado 54-78 L (Michael Williams 12 rebounds, Parris Blackwell 9 rebounds)

12/05/09 at BYU 43 - 69 L ( Moustapha Diarra 13 points, Perris Blackwell 8 rebounds)


The Don Starting Five

6-foot-7 senior Dior Lowhorn 18.3 ppg. 5.0 rpg. (the best player on the Dons, he has been out with the flu so he may or may not be available)

6-foot-7 freshman Perris Blackwell 8.1 ppg. 4.9 rpg. (a long, rangy freshman)

6-foot-7 sophomore Angelo Caloairo 7.5 ppg. (very solid fundamentally, 12-22 on his trey attempts, 18-9 assist to turnover ratio)

6-foot-3 sophomore Kwame Vaughn 13.3 ppg. (the most creative Don, he can beat opponents off the dribble)

6-foot-2 sophomore Dontae Bryant (not necessarily a creator-type, 22-20 assist to turnover ratio)

Top Reserves

6-foot-4 sophomore Rashad Green

6-foot-0 freshman Michael Williams

5-foot-11 sophomore Peter Smith

6-foot-10 junior Moustapha Diarra

7-foot-0 freshman Tomas Bruha


The USF Roster by position

Kwame Vaughn 6-3/195 G SO (out of Oakland)
Dominique O'Connor 5-10/165 G FR
Michael Williams 6-0/170 G FR
Chioke Walker 6-2/175 G SO (out of Oakland)
Dontae Bryant 6-2/175 G SR
Rashad Green 6-4/195 G SO
Peter Smith 5-11/155 G SO

Blake Wallace 6-6/220 F SR
Perris Blackwell 6-8/240 F FR
Nikola Stojiljkovic 6-8/210 F FR(France)
Angelo Caloiaro 6-7/225 F SO (Archbishop Mitty)
Dior Lowhorn 6-7/230 F SR (out of Berkeley)

Tomas Bruha 7-0/225 C FR(Czech Republic)
Moustapha Diarra 6-10/235 C JR (France)


What To Expect

* Look for San Jose State to try and pound it inside, even more so if Lawhorn is out or plays minimal minutes

* USF is shooting .424% overall on the season while allowing .483% to opponents, also more turnovers and less steals

* Coach Walters' squad is at just 30% from long distance

* But the Dons are out-rebounding opposing teams, 34-31

Coverage: KSJS (90.5 FM) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts. Mike Chisholm calls the play-by-play and air time is 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

San Jose State wins 82-74

The thermometer outside registered 30 degrees. The wind was blowing in from the northwest at 15 miles per hour. The sky a dismal gray overcast. Yep, San Jose State men's basketball was in Orem, Utah on the lookout for Wolverines. Check that, make it successful Wolverine hunting.

The Spartans took the measure of Utah Valley State 82-74 Saturday afternoon.

(to the right is Kyle Thomas in his high school incarnation)

A 14-point SJSU halftime lead was expanded to 19 as the second half wore on but the Wolverines cut the lead to 12 -- 67 to 55 -- with six minutes remaining. Sean Deadwiler added a pair of free throws to cut the Spartan lead to 10. Adrian Oliver lifted it back to 12 points with an 18-footer. UVS scored again but Oliver matched it... and then did it again as his fadeaway jumper was working.

At the 3:47 mark, the Wolverines had a chance to cut the deficit to nine but missed a free throw. Oliver broke his jumper string with a driving layup -- making it four baskets in a row for him. Jordan Swarbrick, a thorn in the thorn to the Spartans from the opening tip, then nailed a three-pointer. Yet another Swarbrick basket cut the Spartan lead to seven, 75-68.

UVS regained possession. 1:25 remained. Justin Baker was fouled with a 1:15 left, made his first free throw and also nailed the second. The Spartans led by just five. Robert Owens was fouled, went to the line for a one-and-one. He made the first and the second. Owens returned to the charity stripe, made the first but missed the second. After a Utah Valley State miss, Owens was fouled yet again. He put down both to give SJSU an 80-70 lead with 35 seconds remaining and the contest was over.

Swarbrick finished the game with 30 points. Chris Oakes earned a double-double for SJSU as five Spartans accomplished double-figure scoring led by Adrian Oliver's 17. Kyle Thomas added 15, Robert Owens 14, Chris Oakes 12 (plus 14 rebounds) and Mac Peterson contributed 10.

San Jose shot 30-50 on the game, including 6-8 from three-point range. UVS went 26-62 overall.

The team traded baskets early on in the game. SJSU was down 23-19 but then went on a tear. Kyle Thomas hit back-to-back baskets, Robert Owens nailed a pair of treys, and the point production was off and running. The Spartans out-scored the Wolverines 23-5 until the buzzer sounded after 20 minutes.

At that half, it was 42-28 San Jose State. Thomas had a season high 13 points -- this after the first 20 minutes. The Spartans shot 60% and out-rebounded UVS 23-12, with Chris Oakes nabbing 10.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On The Road Again...

Besides being home to Utah Valley State, Orem, Utah is adjacent to Provo and about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. Marie Osmond lives there so it's a high probability a Nutrisystem franchise is close by that the San Jose State players can pick up meals at after they battle the Wolverines of UVS on Saturday afternoon, December 5.

Hey, if it comes recommended by Dan Marino...

Anyway, UVS is 3-3 so far this season. Here the Wolverines schedule:

11/13/09 North Dakota State W 80-72 (Jordan Swarbrick 20 points, nine rebounds)

11/17/09 at CSU Bakersfield L 51-58 (Justin Baker 10 points, Tyray Petty 11 boards)

11/19/09 at Minnesota Golden Gophers L 51-76 (Jordan Swarbrick 11 points, Tyray Petty nine rebounds)

11/25/09 vs Georgia State L 52-59 (South Alabama tourney) (Corey Claitt 13 points, Tyray Petty seven boards)

11/26/09 vs Alcorn State W 68-53 (South Alabama tourney) (Jordan Swarbrick 20 points, Jordain Scoubes 15 rebounds)

11/28/09 Northern New Mexico W 78-55 (Corey Claitt 15 points, Jourdain Scoubes 10 boards)


Let's Do It Again

On February 17 of last year, these two team met with San Jose State winning at home 52-47. Justin Graham put together an all-around game of 13 points, six assists and four steals. Adrian Oliver was injured and out for the game.

The focus of Graham's defensive attention that night, Andy Toolson, is gone. He was a prolific scorer, totaling 63 points in one game last year -- Graham held him to 14 points.

Coach Dick Hunsaker is in his seventh year in Orem, owning a 122-60 record. Coincidentally, he has a basketball playing son -- Holton Hunsaker -- who is finishing his LDS mission this year and should be on the court and playing for Louisiana Tech come the 2010-2011 season.


The Wolverine Starting Five

A number of players have earned starts so this is our best prediction:

6-foot-7 Joudain Scoubes - 7.7 ppg., 7.3 rpg., not an accurate shooter

6-foot-7 Justin Baker 12.3 ppg., 5.0 rpg.

6-foot-6 Jordan Swarbrick 13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg., also tops in assists with 15 and has taken the most three-point attempts, 30

6-foot-5 Aaron England 8.7 ppg. .487% shooting overall, 9-19 from long distance

6-foot-1 Kevin Woods


Others receiving substantial playing time:

6-foot-3 Tyray Petty 7.0 ppg., 7.3 rpg.

6-foot-1 Corey Clait 12.3 ppg., 5.0 rpg.

6-foot-3 Sean Deadwiler 11 ppg.

6-foot-2 Eric Dearden


The USU Roster by position

Corey Claitt 6-1 G JR
Shawn Deadwiler 6-3 G JR (Loyola Marymount transfer)
Eric Dearden 6-2 G JR (a defensive stopper)
Aaron England 6-5 G JR (redshirted a year at Utah State before going the junior college route)
Tyray Petty 6-3 G SR (played high school ball in Alaska)
Jordan Swarbrick 6-6 G SR (his father Steve and his mother both played basketball at San Jose State)
Kevin Woods II 6-1 G SO

Justin Baker 6-7 F JR
Nick Jenson 6-5 F FR
Jourdain Scoubes 6-7 F SR
Lafayette Yarbray 6-7 F JR

Rory Fannon 6-9 C SO (out of New Zealand)
Jason Holm 6-7 C SO (a walk-on)


What To Expect

*
San Jose State will want to pound it inside and pound it inside and pound it inside...for both points and in gaining fouls. Will the Wolverines pack it into the paint and dare the Spartans to score from outside?

* UVS is shooting 43% as a team and holding opponents to 38% as well as out-boarding teams 38-32 a game. But Coach Hunsaker's squad has totaled 102 turnovers to 61 forced as well as pilfering but 27 steals to 61 for opponents. There's some hay to be made here.

*** Swarbrick is the Wolverine leading scorer but Aaron England is the most accurate shooter, checking in at 49% overall and 47% from long range.

Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Mary's wins 78-71

Well, we didn't get a re-run but the show in the first 20 minutes was damn entertaining. The last 20 were less so as the St. Mary's came from 12 down at halftime (45-33) to win 78-71 Monday night at Walt McPherson Court.

With 11:34 remaining and San Jose State up by two, Aussie Matthew Dellavedova nailed a trey to put the Gaels finally ahead 54-52. The Spartans shots attempts were almost exclusively short up to that point in the second 20 minutes and St. Mary's was connecting both inside and from long distance.

At the 9:19 mark, Chris Oakes put SJSU back up at 57-56 but Wayne Hunter followed with a Gael three-pointer. Hunter came into the game shooting 31% from long range, the lowest of all the St. Mary's players who are on the court for significant time, yet managed four treys in six attempts Monday evening.

He nailed another with 8:34 left to widen the St. Mary's lead to five, 62-57.

A Mac Peterson three-pointer from the left side pulled the Spartans to within four at 73-69 with 1:26 remaining but it became a free throw shooting contest after that.

Going 11-22 overall at the foul line damaged the San Jose State chance for a victory.

The Gaels shot 30-64 (48%) for the game while SJSU went 28-64 (44%). Breaking that down even further, St. Mary's tallied 41% shooting in the first half but raised that to 55% in the second twenty. The Spartans were an en fuego 59% in the initial period but cooled down to 28% afterwards.

Points in the paint went favorably to SJSU 36-28. The Spartans reserves out-scored their counterparts 22-14.

Omar Sanhan and Ben Allen, the Gael bigs, went 5-12 and 3-8 respectively after coming in shooting .65% and 67% on the season.

C.J. Webster garnered a double-double of 18 points and ten boards. Chris Oakes just missed earning one with 14 points and nine rebounds.

It was more the St. Mary's trio of smalls that did the shooting damage. Mickey McConnell shot 7-12, Hunter 6-11 and Matthew Dellavedova 4-10. McConnell topped his team with both 19 points and eight assists.

Good news: 11 turnovers for SJSU -- St. Mary's committed 13.

A few Spartan Hoops thoughts

We were on the sideline watching Saturday afternoon's game against Pacific and our take is it was both physical and mental ... all over the court.

Let us explain.

What struck us the most was the stick-to-it-ness, the resolve of the SJSU contingent.

We type that because it would have been very easy to fold the proverbial team tent after being down by 10 at one point and having no momentum in the first half. That's often a time when selfishness can appear and a 'get-mine' attitude surfaces with less mature teams.

It didn't show up on Walt McPherson Court.

Then it was down by five with minimal time remaining and the participating bodies physically battered after having both dished out and taken beatings. Additionally, the Spartan players were faced with these challenges after a spirited battle against Washington followed by a blah one versus Riverside that resulted in two consecutive losses.

But SJSU didn't disappear.

No, it was bang, bang and bang some more. It was additional carrying on the fight until the contest time expired.

Granted, Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham individually didn't have the best of shooting nights...but they also certainly didn't pack it in and fall into a woe-is-me mope.

Consider that Oliver went 4-12 from the floor on the afternoon -- which obviously had to be frustrating for him -- yet he didn't react in the silly retributive fashion seen far too often elsewhere after a Pacific backcourter tossed him down to the floor in a late-in-the-game moment of visible immaturity. Oliver quietly got upright as the referees took the ball from the the Tigers and gave possession to San Jose.

Who displayed the appropriate mental toughness on that play?

Graham suffered through 3-15 shooting in the contest yet still displayed the moxie to take the critical shot -- which became the winning basket.

By the way, both Graham and Oliver were credited with four assists Saturday afternoon..

C.J. Webster latched on to 14 rebounds, edging towards half of San Jose State's boarding total -- this while displaying the emotion that seems to signal a solid contribution will be forthcoming.

So now St. Mary's -- the darling of the mid-majority collection of schools and rightly so -- comes to town tonight. The Gaels have been playing extremely well and their rep is a well-earned one.

Let's see who demonstrably comes to play and also who amps up his contribution and performance.

It's going to be another physical contest -- that's a given between these two teams -- but we'll also be focusing in on the mental aspect. It's not a matter of refusing to lose though -- much more accurately one of a willingness to compete for a full 40 minutes.

We liked what we witnessed on Saturday. Although everyone complains about re-runs on television, we're hoping to view just that in person again tonight.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

St. Mary's at Walt McPherson Court Monday night

Some teams rebuild, it seems St. Mary's reloads.

Randy Bennett loses Patty Mills (now of the Portland Trailblazers) and the very underrated Diamon Simpson yet keeps on chugging along with a blend of returnees and newcomers.

Of course, it helps to have a pipeline to the Australian Institute of Sport and its top talents, something now firmly in place after the success of Mills in Moraga. Five Aussies are currently on the Gael roster -- like Pacific, here is another private school facing no concerns about out-of-state, let alone, out-of-country tuition costs.

After five straight home games, the Gaels come a bit south to match up with SJSU. We call St. Mary's a pick-a-poison opponent because try and shut down the players in the paint (a la Omar Sanham) and the outside shooters will have free reign, and vice versa.


St, Mary's Schedule to Date

Nov 13 New Mexico State 100 - 68 (W)

Nov 16 San Diego State 80 - 58 (W)

Nov 20 Vanderbilt 70 - 72 (L) - we don't know how they did it but Vandy held the Gaels to 41% shooting

Nov 23 Cal Poly 92 - 67 (W)

Nov 28 Cal Maritime 100 - 59 (W)


The Gael Starting Five

Ben Allen
6- foot-11 SR 9.6 ppg. and 7.2 rpg.
An Indiana transfer and an Aussie who can shoot from close in, from three-point range and at the foul line - shooting 67% overall, 4-7 from three-point land and 12-12 at the foul line

Omar Samhan 6-foot-11 SR 20.6 ppg. and 11.4 rpg.
Averaged 21 and 17 in games versus tough opponents Vanderbilt and San Diego State, shooting 64%, 11 blocked shots so far

Wayne Hunter 6-foot-4 SR 11.4 ppg. and 3.4 rpg.
Get him to the foul line since he's shooting 6-15 from there

Matthew Dellavedova FR 6-foot-4 15.4 ppg. and 5 apg.
Another Aussie mate who shoots well and plays intelligently, assist-to-turnover ratio is 24/8 - shooting 52% overall, 45% on three-pointers and a perfect 14-14 at the foul line

Mickey McConnell 6-foot-0 JR 10.8 ppg. and 6 apg.
His father still is and his grandfather was a prep basketball coach, he's passing well and deadly from distance -- 47% overall and 61% from long range

Off The Bench

Matthew Young
6-foot-9 FR - not much of a shooter yet but a horse on the boards, especially offensively

Clint Steindel 6-foot-7 FR - 17of his 18 shots this season havebeen treys but he's hitting only


The St. Mary's Roster

Trey Anderson G 6-4 175 FR
Matthew Dellavedova G 6-4 185 FR Victoria, Australia
Wayne Hunter G 6-4 210 SR
Mickey McConnell G 6-0 175 JR
Jorden Page G 6-1 175 FR Queensland, Australia

Phil Benson F 6-8 230 JR
Tim Harris F 6-4 190 FR (Valley Christian High) - out with ligament damage in a wrist
Beau Levesque F 6-5 215 FR
Clint Steindl F 6-7 180 SO. Queensland, Australia
Tim Williams F 6-9 235 FR
Mitchell Young F 6-9 225 FR Queensland, Australia

Ben Allen C 6-11 250 SR Melbourne, Australia
Omar Samhan C 6-11 265 SR


*** Kenton Walker II, F 6-9 235 JR (transfer from Creighton, redshirting this season)

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

* Who sets the pace of the game? Pacesetters usually win.

* Even in the loss to SEC member Vanderbilt, St. Mary's still won the battle of the boards 45-34.

* St. Mary's is outscoring its D-1 opponents 85-66 points per game, shooting 51% to .40% overall with 42% accuracy on treys.

* Regarding turnovers and steals, St. Mary's is about even with opposing teams in both categories

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pacific 'choo-ed' up 59-55

Pacific might have expected to get 'AO-ed' or 'JG-ed' (well, they did at the end by the latter) but Coach Bob Thomason wasn't expecting to get 'choo-ed' Saturday afternoon as the Tigers fell 59-55 to San Jose State. But it was a steady stream of points by Robert "Choo" Owens that led the Spartans in knocking their opponent from the unbeaten ranks.

Owens totaled 22 points, including three treys apiece in each half plus back-to-back treys late in the initial 20 minutes.

C.J. Webster put up a double-double of 12 points and 14 boards while Adrian Oliver contributed 10.

Pacific's Mike Nunnally tied the score at 48 with a nifty left-handed hook. Then backcourter Demetrece Young nailed a jumper to give the Tigers the lead but a Mac Peterson layup at the 5:15 mark tied the game again.

Lamar Neufville was successful on a pair of free throws and Terrell Smith popped a three-pointer to boost the Tigers to a 55-50 lead.

An Oliver layup cut the difference to three.

Later, Webster missed a jump hook followed by a chipshot after grabbing the offensive rebound but Smith followed those misses with a right-handed toss down of Oliver while dribble-driving and was whistled for an offensive foul.

Owens twined a three-pointer from the left corner after a nice assist pass from Justin Graham to tie the contest at 55.

Neufville followed with a missed straight-on 15-foot jumper and SJSU rebounded. Graham came down and banked his straight-on 13-footer with 10 seconds remaining, putting the Spartans ahead 57-55. There was no indication from the referees if he called the bank.

Pacific inbounded and called time at the seven second mark. Thomason followed that with a 30-second time out. The Tigers then missed a driving layup attempt and forward Sam Williard's rebound and shot in the same motion also somehow missed going down.

Webster rebounded, was fouled and nailed both free throws to close out the scoring.

For the game, San Jose State shot 53% -- 7 of 13 -- from long range. They out-rebounded Pacific 29-25 -- 10 big offensive boards in the second half -- and committed just nine turnovers to 11 for the Tigers.

At the half, Pacific led 30-26.

Do remember that this was a Spartan opponent who obliterated Santa Clara 84-57 and also topped San Diego State by eight -- this after SDSU beat Fresno State.

The game was akin to a barroom brawl in the paint with one of Newton's laws amply illustrated: "Unless acted upon by an outside force, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion" -- the emphasis today being the last nine words.

San Jose State hosts St. Mary's Monday night at Walt McPherson Court while Pacific now moves on to face Fresno State and then Nevada.

Looking at today's game

The basketball world this season is no longer as it was -- so vividly demonstrated when Andy Katz asked this question today in his ESPN column: "Is beating UCLA actually a quality win for Portland?"

Wow.

Okay, was the hard-fought loss to Washington not an anomaly -- more a sign of the capability of this season's Spartan team? We think so. But maybe so much 'juice' was expended there that a depletion of sorts versus UC Riverside should not have come as a surprise. The energy present in Seattle simply wasn't there in southern California. A beatable team -- the Highlanders -- won with a greater overall effort.

Riverside came in with a typical pick-your-poison plan -- a decision to force the Spartans to win via long-range shots. San Jose State didn't accomplish that as the Highlanders packed defenders into the paint and issued multiple dares. The 'smalls' have to do a better job of shooting accurately.

Another element that was missing was what we will call re-direction. The San Jose State 'bigs' needed to determine early what they were going to be able to accomplish against such a defensive style. Entry passes were going to be few and far between going against multiple defenders and the ability to maneuver with the ball very minimal. But the SJSU frontcourters ultimately committed just as many turnovers as the backcourters during the game.

Plus, off-the-ball movement and a willingness to bang -- or bang back -- going for offensive rebounds would be critical. The Spartans were out-boarded 39-33 although the offensive rebounds for each team were similar.

However, it's next to impossible to determine any single factor on which to hang the defeat -- it's usually a combination -- as San Jose State's defensive play was also subpar. The Spartans allowed the Highlanders to shoot 49% from the floor -- this after holding Washington to 41%. A slimmed-down-on-talent USC team earlier held Riverside to 43% shooting at the Galen Center while host New Mexico limited Highlander accuracy to 33%.

The bottomline: you do win and lose as a team. All cyclinders must be functioning at least close to capacity in order for potential to be realized and then hopefully maximized. That comes down to each individual consistently and positively performing his role game in and game out, figuring out what can be done and then doing so.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pacific comes to Walt McPherson Court Saturday 1 p.m.

San Jose State hopes to have a Tiger by the tail -- actually five of them simultaneously -- Saturday afternoon when Pacific arrives to take on the Spartans in a 1 p.m. contest.

Doesn't it seem like Bob Thomason has been at Pacific like forever? No, he wasn't present at the school's founding -- at least not that we know of -- but he played basketball and golf there as a student-athlete for three years, graduated and and then earned a Master's plus he has been the head coach for 22 years. However, we have no solid evidence -- just a cryptic Matt Drudge reference from a double secret super source -- that the Thomason home is decorated throughout in orange and black.

In a coincidental but worthy-of-mention note, Ron Verlin is the Pacific Associate Head Coach -- he's the 'relative newbie' having been in Stockton for just 15 years. His brother Don is the head coach at Idaho. It doesn't take a weatherman to know how current Vandal backcourter Steffan Johnson landed in Moscow after having to depart from Stockton.

Remarkably, Pacific has been Big Dancin' in three out of the last six seasons. Leading the Big West Conference in attendance is one of the factors behind this feat as is being a private school, one that recruits both across the country and internationally. The Tiger roster currently has a player from Brazil and another from the Caribbean, plus players from South Dakota, Washington and Oklahoma.


Schedule To Date

11/13/09 at Pepperdine W, 67-64 (2OT)
11/16/09 vs. San Diego W, 56-55
11/19/09 at Northern Arizona (suspended in second half due to power outage - yes, you read that correctly)
11/22/09 vs. Santa Clara W, 84-57 (Pacific shot 56% overall, 63% from three-point range)
11/25/09 vs. San Diego State W, 71-63

In the last game, Terrell Smith had 16 points and five rebounds to lead Pacific. The Tigers got career-best scoring contributions off the bench from Nyika Williams (12 points) and freshman Allen Huddleston (10), outscoring San Diego States reserves 27-8. Pacific shot 53 percent from the field and outscored the taller Aztecs 26-8 in the paint to take a 42-29 lead at halftime.


Starting Five

* Sam Willard 6-foot-9 junior - the top returning scorer and rebounder also repeating that so far in 2009-2010

* Michael Nunnally 6-foot-8 (fifth year senior, sat out last year)

* Joe Ford 6-foot-6 - fifth year senior named Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches

* Terrell Smith 6-foot-4 - second leading scorer so far this season

* Lavar Neufville 6-foot-1 - physically strong but a streaky shooter


Top Reserves

Kyika Williams
6-foot-9 - a junior college transfer from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (in the Caribbean)

Pat Eveland 6-foot-6 - a California Community College First Team All-State Selection last season

Demetrece Young 5-foot-11 - not that much of a shooter but owns a topnotch assist-to-turnover ratio

Allen Huddleston 6-foot-1 - scored 31.5 ppg. as a prep senior, his father coaches the womens team at Merced Junior College


The Pacific Roster

Sterling Carter 5-11/190 Guard FR
Allen Huddleston 6-1/175 Guard FR
Reed Kamler 6-1/175 Guard FR
Stephon Lamar 6-0/170 Guard FR
Lavar Neufville 6-1/190 Guard SR
Andrew Ritchart 6-3/185 Guard SO
Nick Peterson 6-1/165 Guard FR
Terrell Smith 6-4/205 Guard JR
Demetrece Young 5-11/185 Guard JR

Royal Edwards 6-6/200 Forward JR
Pat Eveland 6-6/225 Forward JR
Joe Ford 6-6/210 Forward SR
Michael Nunnally 6-8/225 Forward SR
Jordan Turner 6-5/200 Forward FR
Sam Willard 6-9/210 Forward JR

Everson Lacerda 6-11/230 Center SO
Nyika Williams 6-9/225 Center JR


What To Expect

*
The Big West beat reporters voted in pre-season for Pacific to finish in the fifth spot, just behind UC Riverside. Right now, the Tigers are playing better than that prediction -- note that 24-point obliteration of Santa Clara.

* From the It-Is-A-New-Season Department but... - Pacific finished 19-12 after the Big West Tournament concluded earlier in 2009, then posted wins over Portland and Idaho before falling to Bradley in the CollegeInsider.com post-season tourney. This minus the aforementioned Steffan Johnson and Michael Nunnally.

* KSJS will carry Mike Chisholm and his radio version of the game

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Riverside win 70-66

UC Riverside rode a strong first half and then held on to beat visiting San Jose State 70-66 Sunday afternoon.

Mac Peterson offered a bust-out performance with 17 points (4-7 on treys, 5-6 from the foul line), Adrian Oliver also scored 17 and Justin Graham contributed 15. Oliver had a target on both the front and back of his jersey for Highlander defenders all game long and rarely got an open look.

Riverside's plan of attack was to pack defenders inside -- versus Oliver being the exception -- and take chances with Spartan outside-shooting. It worked.

For the game, UCR shot 49% overall (26-53) to SJSU's 39%. The Spartans connected on 8-24 three-point attempts and also went 14-21 at the foul line. The Highlanders won the battle of the boards 37-29. They also made just 33% from long range but attempted just nine shots.

A Graham scoop shot put the Spartans back ahead 52-51 in the second half. The lead see-sawed after that until Riverside began pulling away. The Highlanders' Kyle Austin -- hard to guard all afternoon -- scored inside, He finished with 20 points and 14 boards. Konner Veteto nailed two free throws and a Larry Gurganious dunk put UCR up 64-57.

Austin grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 67-60 with 1:20 remaining. Oliver followed with a trey to bring San Jose State to within four but it became a march to the foul line after that.

Riverside led 36-27 after 20 minutes. The Highlanders shot 53% and out-rebounded the Spartans 18-14. Curiously, despite some banging inside, UCR earned just one free throw attempt and San Jose State three by that point.

It was 13-11 in favor of San Jose at the 12:41 mark. UCR re-took the lead and led 18-15 with 8:20 remaining, keeping the lead through halftime.

The Riverside game plan may prove to be a template for other Spartan opponents. Better shooting and pounding the offensive boards are the obvious prescription.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's SJSU v UC Riverside early Sunday afternoon

San Jose travels to Riverside Sunday for an afternoon contest with the Highlanders.

UC Riverside is 0-2 having lost two road games versus New Mexico and USC (we've chosen to ignore the Highlanders most recent game -- a home win against LaVerne -- because Shirley was injured and unavailable to play).

In the loss to NM, 'big' Konnor Veteto grabbed 13 rebounds while backcourter Sean Cunningham totaled 11 points and eight boards. The Highlander's best player, 6-foot-8 Kyle Austin, shot 3-12. He finished with but eight points and six rebounds. However, Riverside did out-board New Mexico 43-33.

Then against USC, Veteto scored 14 points matched with eight boards while Gonzaga transfer Larry Gurganious scored 13. Austin again had another less than impressive game with eight points (2-8 shooting) and six boards.

The Highlanders finished 17-13 last season and din't really lose any talent of consequence. They took the measure of SJSU last February 53-52 in the Bracket Buster contest at Walt McPherson Court. Kyle Austin scored 15 points and guard Javon Borum added 13. Borum has yet to play this season -- we don't know why.

Here is Riverside's opening quintet:

Starting Five

6-foot-8 Kyle Austin (a USC transfer and Riverside's best player, Big West pre-season MVP)
6-foot-9 Konnor Veteto (watch his matchups inside with Chris Oakes and C.J. Webster)
6-foot-5 Larry Gurganious (a Gonzaga transfer) - he's a slasher but with limited shooting range
6-foot-2 Sean Cunningham
6-foot-2 Dwight Gordon

It's also worth noting that Riverside Coach Jim Wooldridge is a well-respected one, having previously coached at Kansas State and a few other colleges as well as a couple of years with the Chicago Bulls. Former Spartan assistant coach, Dennis Cutts, is also on the Riverside staff as an assistant.

The Sporting News has Riverside finishing third in the Big West this season. The league beat reporters placed the Highlanders fourth.

The Highlander roster

Javon Borum G 5-11 190 Sr.
Niko Brooks G 5-10 160 Fr.
Idris Ibn Idris G 6-3 175 Fr.
Dwight Gordon G 6-2 180 Jr.
Jalonni Diggs G 6-2 190 Jr.
Lateef McMullan G 5-11 160 Fr.
Sean Cunningham G 6-2 195 Sr.
Brandon Dowdy G 6-2 200 Sr.
Rudy Meo G 6-4 190 Sr.
Larry Gurganious G 6-5 195 Sr.
Harrison Gaines G 6-1 175 Jr.
Kareem Nitoto G 6-1 185 Jr. (transfer from Hawaii, redshirting)

Bryson Hampton F 6-8 225 Sr.
Kyle Austin F 6-8 215 Jr.
Colin Chadwick F 6-8 220 Fr.
Jesse LoBue F 6-6 190 Sr.
David Chavarria F 6-6 205
Jessee Hazely F 6-6 215 Fr.
Konner Veteto F 6-9 240 So.
____________________

*** Having both a healthy Adrian Oliver and Justin Graham will benefit the Spartans this time around.

*** San Jose State should have a nice advantage in the paint during this game and needs to take advantage of it. We don't forsee the foul trouble that cropped up against Washington being repeated

*** Not letting Austin (especially) and Cunningham get to the shooting spots they desire and negating Gurganious' dribble-drives towards the hoop will ensure a much better odds of winning for SJSU.

KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts with Mike Chisholm calling the play-by-play. Air time is 1:30 p.m. for the UC Riverside contest.

Washington wins 80-70

The term 'Husky - Spartan' makes more descriptive sense than 'Spartan - Husky' (not to be confused with Ferlin Husky) and it was the Washington Huskies who finished first tonight in Seattle 80-70. It's probably easier to just simply say that San Jose State got Pondexter-ed. The UW senior -- first name Quincy -- paced his squad with a double-double (30 and 14) and proved un-containable in the second half.

UW advanced a 37-31 halftime lead to 45-37 via eight quick points by Pondexter, forcing a SJSU timeout. He ended up scoring Washington's first 14 points opening the second half. That lead was generally maintained, if not expanded, throughout the second half via Husky offensive boardwork and missed Spartan free throws.

Adrian Oliver topped SJSU with a well-earned 32 points, courtesy 17 free throw attempts.

Early on, the game went back and forth with neither team able to establish superiority. However, C.J. Webster garnered two fouls in the initial three minutes of the game and Kyle Thomas took his place.

Soon, the Emerald City became Foul City. Four Spartans were eventually saddled with trios of fouls by halftime: Webster, Thomas, Justin Graham and Chris Jones. Webster fouled out with 9:07 left in the game, Graham in the last minute.

At the first timeout, San Jose State led 11-8 after making all five field goal attempts. It was then 13-all with the Spartans having three turnovers.

The Huskies led 17-15 with 10:21 remaining.

As noted, the score at the half was 37-31 pro Washington. There were eight ties and four lead changes -- SJSU led by three points twice. After the inital 20 minutes, it was Adrian Oliver leading the way among both teams with 13 points. The Spartans shot 44% (11-25) to 35% for UW. The Huskies worked the boards better at 24-17, with 11 of those coming offensively. San Jose State committed 12 turnovers.

More tomorrow.

On Sunday, San Jose State plays on the road again, matching up with UC Riverside. KSJS (90.5 FM, San Jose) originates San Jose State University basketball broadcasts with Mike Chisholm calling the play-by-play. Air time is 1:30 p.m. for the UC Riverside contest.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Washington in Seattle Friday night

University of Washington basketball is a little different than most. Sure the idea is to produce more points than their opponents by game's end but Lorenzo Romar seemingly would like to play on a race track rather than a basketball court. Whether it's been by design, luck, fate, hard work or a combination of each, UW is built for speed. With a national ranking of #14, it's definitely working for the Huskies.

Curiously, whether by design or omission, the letter 'C' does not appear when the positions of each player is listed on the U Dub roster. Here you go:

Abdul Gaddy G 6-3 190 FR
Venoy Overton G 5-11 185 JR
Scott Suggs G 6-6 185 SO
Isaiah Thomas G 5-8 185 SO
Elston Turner G 6-4 205 SO
C.J. Wilcox G 6-5 180 FR

Tyreese Breshers F 6-7 255 RS FR
Matthew Bryan-Amaning F 6-9 240 JR
Darnell Gant F 6-8 225 SO
Justin Holiday F 6-6 180 JR
Quincy Pondexter F 6-6 215 SR
Brendan Sherrer F 6-9 240 SO
Clarence Trent F 6-5 225 FR

By the way, freshman C.J. Wilcox has already placed into redshirt status this season -- this for the leading scorer in Utah last year --which indicates the depth Romar has available.

Also, check the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated and you'll find Isaiah Thomas, adorning the cover. Probably generously listed as 5-foot-8, predictions for him this season include either first or second team national All-America status. As a side note, he received that first name when his father lost a friendly wager on a Lakers vs. Pistons playoff game in 1989.

Plus, Quincy Pondexter (whose father and uncle played in the NBA) has come on this season and it seems that the Huskies are victorious rather easily when he has a strong game.

And do pay attention to big bodied Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who passes for the Washington 'big' man.

We haven't even mentioned freshman Abdul Gaddy, the #2 ranked point in high school last season.

Elston Turner is the son of Elston Turner Sr., currently an assistant with the Houston Rockets, Holiday is the brother of Jrue (former UCLA guard now a rookie with the 76ers).

FEASTING ON HOME COOKING

November 13 saw Washington host Wright State and get a bit of a scare before pulling out a 74-69 win. Thomas scored 30 points, 7-14 from the floor and 14-18 from the foul line.

The next night it was Belmont's turn in the barrel and UW was operating on all cylinders in a 96-78 victory. From the game report on the Huskies site: "Inconsistent for much of his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Huskies can only hope that this performance is a sign of growth from Matthew Bryan-Amaning. He did it all against the Bruins: dunks, drop-step jumpers, up-and-under moves, and even five blocked shots." He scored 23 points. Thomas added 23 and Pondexter led with 25 points.

Proving the two earlier contests to be simple warmups, the Huskies trampled Portland 111-55 the next night. Pondexter was again the top scorer with 29 points while Thomas chipped in with 21. Quotes from that game story include "...the Huskies put on a clinic of transition basketball..." and "...Portland State missed seven straight shots and Washington began a track meet..."

+++++

The Spartans don't want to get into an all all-out 40-minute sprint with Huskies. Utilizing fastbreak opportunities sure, but getting into a warp speed contest would negate the inside strength offered by C.J. Webster and Chris Oakes. Doing some pounding inside and drawing fouls will only benefit SJSU.

Turnovers. We love apply and cherry is our absolute fave but the Huskies thrive on the basketball kind. It's irresponsible to offer a number not to exceed but they must be kept to a minimum or a long night will ensue for San Jose State.

Do watch for who Chris Jones guards, although it may be different opponents at different times. He and Isaiah Thomas have met before during club team basketball in the summer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Derek Brown signing day photos


6-foot-1 Chino Hills High guard Derek Brown followed through with his earlier verbal commitment and signed a national letter-of-intent last week with San Jose State University men's basketball. He is a skilled ballhandler and leader on the court who also possesses scoring and shooting ability. In the above, he amply displays his choice of college.

Monday, November 16, 2009

San Jose State opens with a win

Let's get the final score out there so something more substantive can be offered: San Jose State defeated William Jessup 89-63 Monday night at Walt McPherson Court.

Now on to the meat and potatoes, or the veggie burger and marinated tofu salad if that's how you roll.

The essence of last night -- beyond no injuries -- can be distilled down to this: the unveiling of freshman Chris Jones. His line: 13 points, 5-7 overall shooting, 1-2 from three-point range and 2-2 from the foul line, five rebounds, two assists and zero fouls. The latter is listed because Jones played the most serious of defense in his 25 minutes of play.

On top of his various numbers, Jones also displayed a solid handle with his dribble-drives and actually led a couple of one-man fastbreaks after receiving outlet passes that resulted in his canning a pair of layups. He is strong, quick and -- yes, we're going to type this -- he is going to receive a spot on the All-WAC Defensive Team in 2009-2010.

Okay, we'll take a breath.

So what else?

In 27 minutes, a finally healthy Justin Graham ended up leading the squad in scoring with 18 points -- 6-8 shooting overall, 1-2 on his trey attempts and 5-5 from the foul line. His right wrist looks back to normal.

The Spartan 'bigs' played big, as expected, dominating inside.

SJSU led 46-31 at the half. A five or so minute funk period -- no scoring combined with ballhandling errors -- allowed William Jessup to close the scoring gap.

Too many unforced, sloppy passes were apparent as San Jose State finished the night with 21 turnovers -- 17 by the backcourters -- and 12 of those in the initial 20 minutes.

On Friday, it's the Spartans taking on Lorenzo Romar's Huskies in Seattle. Washington has beaten Wright St. 74-69, Belmont 96-78 and splattered Portland State 111-55. UW isn't overpowering but does have a bigtime collection of athletes, including 5-foot-8 Isaiah Thomas who many are predicting will be the PAC-10 Player of the Year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

William Jessup here Monday night

We couldn't help it -- there just was no waiting any longer. William Jessup, or rather the basketball team representing WJ University, arrives in San Jose on Monday for a 7 p.m. Walt McPherson Court tussle with San Jose State. Their school sports nickname is the Warriors so let's hope they follow the direction of their professional brethren up in Oakland..

Now this may not mean a heck of a lot to SJSU partisans but these Warrior basketballers just might be carrying a longterm grudge. Here's why: straight from William Jessup Wikipedia entry comes this -- "The University was founded as San Jose Bible College in 1939, in San Jose by William Jessup, the school's first President. By 1951, with the school expanding and the San José State University across the street encroaching, San Jose Bible College moved to a parcel bordered by Coyote Creek, 12th Street and Highway 280. Spanish style classroom buildings and several dormitory buildings made up the small campus."
Encroachment? Well, there's worse things to be accused of committing. Heck, knowing how tales get wilder and wilder with time, the Spartans will probably be charged with running 'em out of town on a rail.

Then WJ moved up to it's present location up in Rocklin. There's no word if SJSU has plans for a satellite campus there nor if it possibly will be located anywhere near WJ's facilities.

Plus there is another factor to consider about Monday's matchup. That is, the William Jessup hoopsters aren't likely to be intimidated. Why, you ask? Well, the Warriors traveled recently and beat a team comprised of San Quentin prisoners -- yes, a ROAD game, let that sink in for a minute -- with the final score being 101-87.

So don't expect William Jessup to fold at the sight of the bigger and better Spartans.

In fact, the league's head coaches recently picked WJ to finish second in the California Pacific Conference this season

Additionally, the Warriors shouldn't have any first-game jitters bcause they have already played a couple of games.

The first was a 72-54 road loss to Northwest Christian University. 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Tevin Hurd led the Warriors with 14 points and 6 rebounds, both team highs. 6-foot-2 junior Kadeem Kirsten added 10 points.

The other was an 86-80 road loss to Concordia where Kirsten led WJ with 20 points while 6-foot senior Jason Washington added 16 points.

This weekend will provide two more opportunities for the Warriors to work out any kinks. There is a rematch with Northwest Christian followed by a contest against Oregon Tech. Both are home games for William Jessup.

As for a brief preview summary, the Warriors return one starter and 6 lettermen from last year's 16-14 club. Jason Washington is the Warrior's leading returning scorer at 12.1 points per game. Washington also led the Warriors with 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals a game. Guard Kadeem Kirsten, who was a part time starter last season. also returns after averaging 9.1 points per game.

Here the complete WJ roster:

Austin Nelson Guard 5-10 SO
Jeremy Devers Guard 5-10 SO
Jason Washington Guard 6-0 SR
Michael Sabosky Guard 6-3 FR
Matt Walker Guard 6-1 SO
Eleazar Jones Guard 6-1 JR
Sterling Shells Guard 6-1 FR
Anthony Parra Forward 6-2 FR
Bobby Cofrances Guard 6-4 FR
Kadeem Kirsten Guard 6-2 JR
Tevin Hurd Forward 6-6 SO
Jordan Wilson Forward 6-4 FR
Zach Bryant Forward 6-4 FR
Damal Neil Forward 6-5 JR
Lucas Domingue Forward 6-3 JR
Marques Rodriguez Forward 6-3 SO
Greg Giron Forward 6-5 FR
Paul Johnson Center 6-7 JR
Dalyn Stram Forward 6-3 FR
Tucker Horwath Forward 6-5 FR
Laurence Donelson Center 6-9 JR

What do we want to witness: The outcome isn't in doubt so we wish to view a search-and-destroy, take-no-prisoners intensity and attitude from the new-look Spartans -- no let-up despite the lead or the score. The SJSU bench is so much better, both in the frontcourt and backcourt, than last season and any dropoff once substitutions begin should be minimal.

Jessica Graham is back

Yep, this is a San Jose State site but we still wish to note that Jessica Graham is back on the floor this season for the Idaho Vandals after a pre-season injury in 2008-2009. Here's her writeup at the Idaho athletics site:

2008-09: Graham redshirted the 2008-09 season after sustaining a knee injury in fall practices.

High School:
Graham led Ripon High School to a 25-7 overall and 12-3 league record in helping the Indians advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championship game as a junior in 2007. She averaged 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds as a junior to earn Trans Valley League MVP honors. She was a first-team All-TVL player as a sophomore in 2006 and was the TVL Player of the Year as a freshman in 2005. She was also named to the Modesto Bee All-District First Team as a junior, as well as the Second Team as a freshman and sophomore. She transferred to Modesto Christian High School as senior and led the Crusaders to a 25-8 overall record, a 15-0 TVL record, the 2008 TVL league title and a semifinal appearance at the CIF Nor-Cal Tournament. She averaged 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game and earned all-TVL honors for the fourth time in her career.

Personal:
She is the daughter of Steven Graham and Sharon Hernandez. She has three brothers, Justin, Roberto and Danny. She comes from a family with a strong basketball background. Both of her parents played at Cal State – Stanislaus and her brother Justin plays for San Jose State. She also competed for the Modesto Magic club team for seven years. Her major at Idaho is Education.