GAME NOTES: With the regular season winding down, the San Jose State Spartans shoot for just their second Mountain West Conference win of the season this evening as they host the Utah State Aggies at The Event Center.
San Jose State has had a dismal 2013-14 campaign, winning a total of just seven games in 27 opportunities. The team opened the conference schedule with 13 straight defeats before taking out Nevada back on Feb. 18 on the road by a score of 66-64. Unfortunately, the Spartans fell back into the loss column on Tuesday night versus in-state rival San Diego State, 90-64.
As for the Aggies, a team which had been one of the best squads in the Western Athletic Conference before making the move to the MWC, they are struggling as well this season. Entering the weekend USU is second-to-last in the MWC standings with a record of 5-11. Also in action earlier this week, the Aggies put up a good fight against 25th-ranked New Mexico early on before being dealt a 67-58 setback. The loss was the fourth in a row for the once-proud Aggies.
The Aggies have dominated the series in recent years, winning 13 straight encounters, including an 86-67 final at home in Logan the first week of January, even as SJSU set a school record for 3-pointers in a game with 15. Overall, the advantage goes to USU by a count of 51-21.
Utah State led by as many as eight points with just over 11 minutes to play in the second half on Tuesday night, but the team then shot only 36.4 percent from the floor in the period and was outscored at the free-throw line, 10-2, as the Aggies headed to the loss column yet again. Preston Medlin, who just three days earlier posted a mere six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the floor against Fresno State, emerged as the only double-digit scorer for USU with 19 points, hitting on 4-of-5 behind the 3-point line.
Winners of just one of eight conference road games, the Aggies have been generating only 65.4 ppg versus the rest of the MWC. The squad is being led in those outings by Jarred Shaw with his 13.3 ppg, not to mention a team-best 8.2 rpg as well. Spencer Butterfield checks in with another 12.3 ppg and has combined with Medlin (12.1 ppg) to form a deadly combination out of the perimeter where the two have converted 66-of-158.
Against San Diego State, the Spartans didn't stand a chance on Tuesday night as the Aztecs ripped through them with a 26-point win. A major issue for SJSU was the fact that the team ended up with more turnovers (22) than field goals (20). The team failed to make a single appearance at the free-throw line in the first half and after intermission shot only 8-of-24 from the floor. Jaleel Williams and Rashad Muhammad both tallied 14 points, the former adding eight rebounds as well.
A reserve for all but one game this season, Muhammad has tried to bring a spark off the bench for the Spartans, one that has led to a team-best 13.6 ppg, although he is shooting worse from the field overall (.377) than he is behind the 3-point line (.421) where 164 of his 281 total field goals have originated from. Williams checks in with 10.6 ppg and is one of the better rebounders on the roster with 5.9 per contest, but his problem is that he wants to be a 3-point threat and is nowhere near it with only 29.7 percent accuracy.
With as poorly as the Aggies can play this season, it would not be surprising to see San Jose State sneak out with a home win tonight, but a lot would have to go right for the Spartans to make that happen.
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