By Ryan Vermont:
After being down nine at halftime, an imposing second half by the San Jose State Spartans (4-10,1-1) sent the game into overtime where it came up just short, losing 70-67 to the Colorado State Rams (10-5, 2-1).
It was the first in-conference road game of the season for the Spartans.
The tilt featured two of the top players in the Mountain West in Dezz Ramos of SJSU and Ellen Nystrom of Colorado State. Coming into the game, Ramos ranked first in the conference in scoring and third in assists, while Nystrom ranked third in scoring and fifth in assists.
Both put on a show Wednesday night.
The two senior guards matched each other shot-for-shot, but it was Nystrom who got the better of the night.
The 6-1 guard from Sweden ended the game with 32 points, 14 rebounds and needed just four more assists to get a triple-double, finishing with 6.
Ramos finished with 34 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Spartans came out of the gates slowly, scoring just 9 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second unlike the Rams who ended the first half with a 32-23 lead.
In the second half, SJSU came out of the break with new life, highlighted by a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter that had it ahead 56-51 with 3:56 remaining in the game but couldn’t hold out.
A clutch 3-pointer with less than 40 seconds to go by Nystrom tied the game at 58, and following unsuccessful possessions by both teams, the game went to overtime.
The Spartans scored first in the extra frame, but the Rams were the more consistent team in the last five minutes and only missed one free-throw down the stretch.
Even with the loss, Spartans’ coach Jamie Craighead has to be pleased with the showing of Ramos’ supporting cast. Forward Jasmine Smith notched a double-double and senior forward Paris Baird grabbed 19 boards, but still it was not enough.
It was the Rams’ duo of Nystrom and fellow Swede, Elin Gustavsson, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, which propelled their team to its second conference win.
Next up on the Spartans’ schedule is a matchup against rival Fresno State.
The game is set for Saturday at 2p.m. in Fresno.