Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spartans fall to Utah State 89-77

Has anyone ever been 'threed' to death? Well, not exactly death -- that's over the top with dramatic license -- but Utah State as a team was definitely 'en fuego' dialing in from long distance in the initial 20 minutes

The score was 43-27 at the half, with the Aggies shooting 9-18 on three-point attempts -- four makes in the initial five and a half minutes. The game started out with a quick 13-2 run by Utah State and USU kept the pedal to the metal. At one point, Stew Morrill's group has a 16-6 rebounding edge but it was reduced to nine after 20 minutes.

But San Jose State dug in defensively -- switching from a zone defense to man-to-man in the second half -- and closed to 55-43. The Spartans reduced the difference to 11 and then nine and finally eight. Utah State fought back but a Robert Owens three-point play cut it to 59-52 with 12 minutes to go. SJSU was shooting 68% at one point.

Another Owens trey made it 65-57. Two Owens free throws then brought it it 65-59. Making another visit to the foul line, Owens nailed one of two, making it 65-60.

But the Aggies responded with a tip in by Brady Jardine and a dunk by Gary Wilkinson.

Later, DeVonte Thomas tipped in a missed shot, was fouled and he put in the free throw. That and-1 put San Jose State down by just four, 69-65.

It was a matter in the second half of multiple Spartan scoring runs, with Utah State counterpunching.

Adrian Oliver was fouled at the 4:40 mark and awarded three free throws. He made them all to again reduce the Aggie lead to four.

But Jared Quayle then poured in seven straight points -- a three-pointer plus two other jumpers -- and that finally proved too much to overcome. He topped Utah State with 21 points.

Adrian Oliver led the way with 20 points and Robert Owens contributed 18. Chris Oakes provided a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards.

San Jose State bested USU in shooting 53% to 52%. SJSU went 5-12 from three-point range and the Aggies 11-23. The boardwork was close with 31 for the Logan-ites and 29 for the Spartans. Utah State committed five turnovers to eight for the SJSU.

NOTES: Gary Wilkinson missed time in the first half with a thumb injury, the seriousness to be determined as he did return to the game ... Yes, the student section is loud at The Spectrum -- which is like saying The Louvre has some good paintings -- as we could hear through the radio what was being shouted ...

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