It was Utah State and San Jose State University punch-for-punch to borrow a phrase from the the sweet science. One double digit lead was obtained by the Aggies in the second half but then shortly erased. Eventually, all turned on late-in-the-game offensive rebounding by Tai Wesley and such finally put the Aggies over the top against the Spartans 58-54.
Adrian Oliver led the way for SJSU with 16 points (6-19 shooting). Keith Shamburger contributed 11 and Wil Carter finished with 11 rebounds. Brockeith Pane topped Utah State with 16 points and Tai Wesley had 14 plus 12 boards for a double-double. Center Nate Bendall was the best boardman for the Aggies with 12.
Each team finished at 37% shooting and the rebounding ended 36-35 in favor of SJSU. The 10 offensive boards grabbed by the Spartans contributed heavily to second chance scoring.
At the 14:54 mark of the second 20 minutes, Pane, Wesley and Bendall were all saddled with three fouls.
Two Bendall free throws made the lead 44-34 but he subsequently committed his fourth foul and Utah State began mixing in some zone due to the foul trouble.
Later, an Oliver trey cut the margin to 46-40.
Further on, a Calvin Douglas three-pointer followed by a Matt Ballard followup basket made it 50-49.
Pane's fast break layup pushed the lead back to three. Justin Graham then nabbed a pass and went the length of the court for a layin. Pane subsequently scored again to make it 54-51 with 4:14 showing.
After a flurry of possessions back and forth, Wesley grabbed a blocked shot and put it in -- the score 56 to 51 and 2:38 on the clock. Wesley (his fourth)then fouled Ballard on a shot. He missed the first but made the second (56-52). After Tyler Newbold missed a shot, Wesley grabbed the offensive rebound, shot and was fouled. He missed at the charity stripe but USU still led by four.
San Jose State subsequently missed and Bendall rebounded but Pooh Williams also was errant on a shot. Oliver came down the court, made the basket and was fouled, the score, 56-54. He missed with 35.5 seconds to play.
SJSU went to man-to-man defensively and Graham fouled Wesley -- Justin's fifth, with 27 ticks remaining. Wesley missed both attempts but Oliver came down and erred on a trey attempt. Wesley rebounded, was fouled with 3.2 seconds on the clock.
It was another one-and-one situation. He nailed the first, and then the second, clinching the game for Utah State.
At the half, Utah State led 33-29. It was Pane and Wesley with six points apiece and Nate Bendall totaling five rebounds. Both Shamburger and Oliver led SJSU with eight points and Wil Carter grabbed six boards. SJSU zoned for the first 20 minutes.
With this season-ender, SpartanHoops is moving on to other on-line opportunities and ventures. So who is willing to step in, fill the not-so -sizeable shoes and take over this duty? The compensation is great, the hours are short and you can perform the duties in your PJs -- an unbeatable trifecta.
Wa-Do, Dank je, Grazie, Go raibh maith agat, Tapadh leat, Mahalo.