Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's San Jose State by two, 61-59

Semper paratus is the motto of the United States Coast Guard. It's also something coaches preach incessantly although sometimes to ears that are deliberately deaf. But 'always ready' is great advice for any situation and DaShawn Wright put this in action Saturday in helping to set up a 61-59 San Jose State victory over visiting Hawaii.

Wright had played just 93 minutes in conference games this season but it was his putting himself in the right place at the right time that enabled the Spartans to emerge victorious.

With the score tied at 59 and 9.4 seconds on the clock, Wright blocked a layup attempt by 6-9 Bill Amis but was called for a foul. However, Amis ultimately missed both free throw attempts and the long rebound was batted around until Wright seized it and shot a pass to Adrian Oliver who was streaking up the right sideline. Oliver was just ahead of his pursuers and deliberately fouled (his jersey was grabbed from behind) which resulted in two made foul shots by him (the winning points) and San Jose State retaining possession of the ball.

Here's how the game got to that point: Hawaii's Brandon Adams put in a layup to give the Rainbow Warriors a 56-52 lead. DeVonte Thomas countered with a dribble-drive cross under layup to cut the lead back to two at the 4:01 mark.

Hiram Thompson nailed a three-pointer from the left side to advance the UH lead to five, 59-54. C.J. Webster then banked in a short shot and was fouled but missed the free throw.

With 2:35 remaining, Justin Graham stole the inbounds pass and was then fouled by Thompson, who compounded his initial error when inbounding the ball. Graham made the first free throw but missed the second attempt, leaving the score at 59-57 in favor of Hawaii.

Roderick Flemings, who had been a major pain in the side of the Spartans in the second half, missed a jumper but Amis got the ball back. Another jumper was missed but Amis nabbed the offensive rebound, Finally, Thompson missed a layup at the 38 second mark and Adrian Oliver rebounded.

Webster subsequently had an inside shot blocked but San Jose State grabbed the offensive rebound and Oliver nailed a 16-foot jumper from the left side to tie the contest at 59. with 16.7 seconds showing.

As detailed earlier, Amis was fouled at the 9.4 mark and missed his initial foul shot. SJSU then asked for a 30-second timeout. When play resumed, Amis shot his second attempt off the back rim, leading to DaShawn Wright's grabbing the loose ball and firing it to Oliver.

Oliver led the Spartans with 20 points. Webster checked in with 12. DeVonte Thomas went 4-4 shooting on the night, including three jumpers in the first half. Roderick Flemings also finished with 20.

It was similar to the other night against Idaho in that the contest consisted of a number of mini-runs but with neither team able to break away from the other.

Hawaii had 35 rebounds for the night to SJSU's 34.

At the end of the first half, it was 31 points apiece. Hawaii Coach Bob Nash had a choice to make early on -- at the 15:56 mark -- when star player Roderick Flemings was whistled for his second foul. Nash kept Flemings in the game and ultimately the 6-7 forward scored a couple of baskets in the last five minutes of the initial half without a further foul.

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