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.

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