GAME NOTES: Former members of the Western Athletic Conference get together in the Golden State as the San Jose State Spartans play host to the Fresno State Bulldogs in a Mountain West Conference showdown.
Tonight's game is the regular-season finale for both programs and only one of them has a favorable outlook moving forward. The Bulldogs find themselves tied with Wyoming for sixth place in the MWC standings with a record of 8-9 following an 82-67 setback against San Diego State last weekend. That defeat snapped a two-game win streak for a Fresno State program that has come on strong down the stretch.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, there was nothing strong about their 2013-14 campaign, having registered a grand total of just seven victories in 29 chances thus far. Of those wins, only five were against Division I foes and just one came in-conference versus Nevada (66-64) a few weeks ago. San Jose State has since fallen back into the loss column three more times, most recently against Colorado State on Wednesday night, 78-66.
The Bulldogs are ahead in the all-time series, 80-75, thanks to an 82-56 thrashing of SJSU at home in the first meeting of the season last month.
Fresno State turned the ball over just eight times against one of the best defenses out there, but still the Bulldogs could not generate enough offense to keep up with San Diego State at home last weekend. Tyler Johnson managed to post 18 points, Marvelle Harris 17, Alex Davis 12 points and Cezar Guerrero 10 points and four assists off the bench, although the latter was also saddled with five turnovers in 27 minutes of work.
In conference play this season the Bulldogs are practically even with the rest of the MWC in the scoring column, putting up 71.8 ppg, while allowing 71.6 ppg. Johnson has done the majority of the damage for the canines with 18.5 ppg, hitting his 3-point tries at a staggering 51.4 percent, while Harris (14.6 ppg) and Guerrero (12.7 ppg) have combined to knock down 60 triples at better than 35 percent success.
Out on the road at Moby Arena, the Spartans put together a decent effort against Colorado State, shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and 12-of-25 behind the 3-point line, but it still wasn't enough. Jaleel Williams accounted for 19 points, hitting 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, followed by Isaac Thornton with 14 points, as the team was outscored at the free-throw line, 20-6.
Reserve Rashad Muhammad, who shot a mere 2-of-10 from the field and finished with only six points versus the Rams, continues to be the leading scorer on the season for the Spartans with 13.0 ppg, but he has come up quite short in recent outings. Williams checks in with another 10.9 ppg and is one of the better rebounders with 5.8 rpg. Still this is a group that is shooting only 37.9 percent from the floor on the season.
Being outscored by 8.3 ppg, the Spartans rarely give themselves a chance to compete.
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