GAME NOTES: On the road again and aiming for their first Mountain West Conference win of the season, the San Jose State Spartans go after the Wyoming Cowboys at Arena Auditorium.
Three nights ago, the Spartans traveled to Colorado to challenge the Air Force Falcons and came up short in a 77-62 final. The setback was the fifth straight for SJSU, a squad which is all alone at the bottom of the MWC standings and has a record of only 2-6 on the road in 2013-14.
As for the Cowboys, they've had much more time to prepare for this encounter, having been off since last weekend's narrow 52-50 victory over Boise State on the road. The win snapped a brief two-game slide and was the first in five tries on the road this season. In terms of a home record, the Pokes are an impressive 8-2 in Laramie.
The Cowboys own a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series, one that dates back to 1965. However, in the most recent meeting back in 1997 it was SJSU that captured a 67-62 win at home.
San Jose State forced the Falcons into a staggering 23 turnovers on Wednesday night at Clune Arena, but at the same time the Spartans allowed the hosts to shoot 56.8 percent from the floor and 12-of-26 behind the 3-point line. Rashad Muhammad scored a team-best 12 points off the bench for SJSU, although he shot only 3-of-12 from the field, while starters Jaleel Williams and Chris Cunningham accounted for 11 points apiece for a squad that was dominated on the glass, 34-21. by a Falcons team which has historically been rather poor in the rebounding department.
The leading scorer in four of the last six outings for the Spartans, Muhammad paces the program overall with his 17.0 ppg even though he has started just once in 17 games. Muhammad is shooting only 41.9 percent from the field, which is dwarfed by his 46.6 percent accuracy out on the perimeter. As a unit, the Spartans are averaging just under 10 3-pointers per game and still they are having a hard time competing in conference play.
Larry Nance Jr. played the hero for the Cowboys last weekend as he knocked down a jumper from the baseline with 1.6 seconds left on the clock in the two- point win over Boise State. Nance finished with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, recording his sixth double-double of the season. Nathan Sobey and Jerron Granberry both tallied 11 points and Josh Adams dropped in 10, but the latter was also guilty of seven of the unit's 17 turnovers in the close call.
Nance is also the top overall scorer on the season for the Cowboys with his 15.7 ppg, not to mention placing first on the glass with 9.1 rpg and registering 29 blocked shots and 23 steals along the way. Riley Grabau is responsible for 11.6 ppg and Adams another 11.3 ppg, the former providing the Wyoming offense with a perimeter presence with his 51.9 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line.
If you were to go by the numbers alone, there's no way the Cowboys should be losing at home to San Jose State, but that's why they play the games. Expect the Spartans to show some fight of course, but just not enough to finally get that elusive first conference win.
Game Date and Time