By Ryan Vermont:
The San Jose State men’s basketball team has failed to beat Colorado State in the history between the two teams — a history that goes back almost 50 years and has seen 13 contests.
The Spartans (7-5, 0-1 MW) will have another chance to notch a win against the Rams (9-6, 1-1 MW) tomorrow in The Event Center.
On Jan. 9, 2016, the last time the Spartans hosted the Rams, Spartan forward Jaycee Hillsman missed the game-winning shot with less than two seconds to go in overtime. The Rams won 85-84, and would go on to win the other the next two meetings last year including in the first round of the conference tournament.
SJSU has had seven days to think about its 80-55 loss to Nevada last week, and to prepare for the game against Colorado State, while the Rams played over the weekend and have already played two conference games.
The winner of this game will likely have more rebounds.
Individually, SJSU’s glass-crasher Brandon Clarke currently ranks fifth in the Mountain West in rebounding with 7.7 per game. He will however, be put to the test against CSU’s Emmanuel Omogbo who is first on the list averaging 10.6 boards per game..
As for team stats, the Rams and Spartans are second and third respectively in rebounds per game, but the Spartans are number one in rebounding margin at +5.5.
If the Spartans want to compete with the other teams in the conference they will have to shoot much better than they did in last week’s conference opener. SJSU shot a season low 29.2 percent in the game, while only connecting on two of their 21 shoots from behind the arc.
Ryan Welage, who is second on the team in scoring, had just three points on 1-7 shooting and will be looking for a bounce back game.
CSU has three players averaging double-digits led by Gian Clavell’s 14.8 ppg. Omogbo averages 12.7 and Prentiss Nixon averages 11.6 points a game.
The Rams are similar to the Spartans in that they are balanced on the offensive side and have a number of players who can get hot on any given night. Unlike in Reno, where the Spartans allowed 40 points in each half, SJSU will have to do a better job contesting shots on the perimeter while continuing to rebound as a team.
After a strong non-conference showing, starting 0-2 in conference play would be a shame for the Spartans.
Tomorrow’s game will be an opportunity for SJSU to pick up a historic win and prove that there is a culture change going on within the program.
Tip-Off is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.