Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spartans fall 62-58

A summary of tonight's game is somewhat difficult to compose because there were just a couple of elements that stood out. After a misfiring beginning, Aggie Gary Wilkinson came on and resonated with consistent scoring all night, finishing with 25 points. It did take him 19 shots to reach that total but it appeared he primarily got the shots he and Coach Stew Morrill wanted.

And we counted but one run in the game, it taking place soon after the second half. Utah State took advantage of a quick bevy of San Jose State turnovers and extended a small lead into a double digit one and remained ahead the rest of the game. During this time, Utah State's Tyler Newbold seemingly set up shop in the right corner and nailed two wide open three-pointers, combined with another Aggie deuce. But Newbold wasn't quite done as he also then totaled another trey along with a following two-pointer -- this after being relatively quiet earlier in the contest.

A Wilkinson dunk at the 15:12 mark gave Utah State a 42-30 lead. With 4:40 showing, USU was ahead 55-46.

With less than a minute to go, Aggie point Jared Quayle (who had a tough time at the foul line going 4-7) missed a free throw and Justin Graham scored on a layup to cut the deficit to six, 58-52, with 48.7 seconds on the clock.

Tai Wesley was fouled but he also missed a shot at the charity stripe and Graham nailed another layup plus an and/one free throw at the other end to make it 58-55 with 35.5 seconds left.

But Quayle came through at the 31.1 mark when fouled again as he nailed both foul shot attempts to provide breathing room for the Aggies.

SJSU's Robert Owens then put down a trey to cut the lead back to two, 60-58.

After a Utah State time out, Tyler Newbold was fouled with 22.1 seconds remaining and missed both attempts (he's a 73% shooter for the season).

Trailing by two, Graham brought the ball down for San Jose State, penetrated on a dribble-drive but his shot rolled around the rim and out. Utah State rebounded and eventually Stavon Williams was fouled and nailed both his foul shots to put the game away.

Chris Oakes worked hard all evening and collected yet another double-double, this one consisting of 11 points and 13 rebounds. He also blocked a pair of shots and passed for two assists.

The Spartans shot 47% for the night to 38% for the Aggies. USU entered the game shooting 51% for the season, 48% in WAC play. San Jose State's seasonal shooting numbers: 44% and 42% respectively to date.

SJSU also won the rebounding battle 36-28 but the breakdown was a bit wacky as the Spartans grabbed nine offensive and 27 defensive boards. Utah State's rebounding numbers were 14 apiece.

San Jose State also scored better in the paint, 34 to 22.

However, the Aggies had but four turnovers to 12 for SJSU and Utah State generated 18 points from these miscues.

Do note Quayle's bountiful line: 13 points, six boards, four steals, four assists and zero turnovers. We were joking somewhat with the line about him being the most valuable Aggie but...

San Jose State began the game with crisp offensive ballhandling and passing, leading to solid shooting. The Spartans led 6-2, 7-4 and 12-8, the latter at the 11:03 mark of the opening 20 minutes.

A Wilkinson three-pointer put Utah State up 21-18, giving the Aggies their first lead.

At the half, USU led 27-24, with Wilkinson totaling 14 points. The biggest lead for Morrill's team was five while SJSU's largest advantage was four points.

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