Friday, January 29, 2010

Spartans win 83-60

We understand why nobody has ever written a song titled "What a Difference 11 Days Make" -- Dinah Washington notwithstanding -- but all Spartans were singing that tune tonight as San Jose State won what turned into a second half yawner over Hawaii 83-60. The Rainbow Warriors had earlier nabbed a 68-67 victory in the islands.

The biggest lead for the Spartans was 27 points. This victory moved the SJSU season record to 12-8 and was the fifth conference win to date.

Adrian Oliver totaled 33 points (12-18 shooting), plus added four rebounds and and an equal number of assists. Chris Oakes just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine boards and Robert Owens totaled 12. Justin Graham passed for eight assists.

San Jose State shot 51% on the night and went 7-16 from three-point range.

Roderick Flemings led Hawaii with 19 points, Jeremy Lay contributed 12 and Brandon Adams nine. Lay and Adams both had 19 in the earlier Rainbow Warrior victory.

UH was miserable at the foul line, going 9-21 while shooting 42% from the floor for the game.

SJSU won the battle of the boards 37-30.

At the half, it was 41-32 in favor of SJSU and that nine point differential was made closer by a late UH scoring rush. 14 was the largest Spartan lead in the initial 20 minutes. Oliver scored 17 at that point, on 6-10 shooting from the floor. Roderick Fleming totaled nine points. The statistic of the most importance was San Jose State's 52% overall shooting to Hawaii's 42%.

Post Game Quotes

San Jose State coach George Nessman
“I think our guys responded well to this entire homestand. It was a real important homestand for us if we’re going to project ourselves into the conference race. Winning these three games at home has done that. We’re a 1 ½ games out of first (place). Now the challenge is to stay in the race and staying focused through the balance of the season. “We didn’t play great, but we played with a lot of intensity. We were able to hold them off. They made some nice runs at us. We got one last run and put it away with 5-6 minutes to go.

“Adrian (Oliver) draws so much attention. He makes it easier on everyone else. He’s a very focused person and works extremely hard. Those two characteristics will always lead him to be consistent. What I’m really proud is seeing consistency in the other guys. Chris Oakes’ level of consistency is very high. Mac Peterson, Robert (Owens), Justin (Graham). The core group is playing most of our minutes right now is really playing consistently. That’s what you want.

“It’s very good to have C.J. (Webster) back. He’s not in game condition. He sat out, couldn’t practice for, like, 14 days. You could see the difference he can make for us in terms of his power around the goal. We’ll definitely need him going down the stretch. “Right now, what we can do is put three guys who are shooting well over 40 percent from the 3-point line at once. That has a tendency to spread defenses away from the rim. Justin can really drive and Adrian can really drive. The only guy left is the other team’s ‘big’ who has to rotate off of Chris Oakes. If he is late getting down in front of Chris, he’s pretty hard to stop once he gets his hands on the ball. He’s a good finisher in there. “We haven’t had our full team since early December. We have to work to get all our skills back in the same place. We’ve been using the four guards for many weeks now. We won’t abandon that. At the same time, we want to have another set of weapons we can apply when we have both Chris and C.J. on the floor. That’s a whole new set of problems for opponents to think about, too.
Hawaii Coach Bob Nash
“We didn’t have any energy and didn’t have any pop. We didn’t do it on the defensive end whatsoever.

“Oliver came out on fire. He was dialed in. When they smelled the kill, they went for it. He’s hard to stop. He’s one of the better guards in the league.”
San Jose State guard Adrian Oliver
“We always have two to three guys who can score during the course of the game. If we don’t, that’s unusual. Even when I have a great game, other guys step up. Chris (Oakes) has been playing like that the whole year. It’s nothing unusual.

“I told him, when I drive, he’s going to be open. He’ll get about five dunks a game. The strides he’s made this summer are amazing. He’s the reason we are at this point. He’s the difference.

“I have a lot more sense of trust with these guys. When you’ve been with guys for a year like I have, you gain this trust. Last year, some trust wasn’t there at times. Now, it’s total team ball. It’s fun to play that way.

“I don’t want to be seen as a scorer. All the great scorers I’ve known have said the same thing. I highly dislike when people label me as a scorer. It’s one of the things I good at. I want to be a complete player.

“We have a lot of chemistry right now. With this four-guard lineup, it’s been hot. We’ve been hard to guard. Now with C.J. back, it’s going to be hard to guard, because we have another big guy down low.”

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