Keeping the Pressure On

We've reached the halfway point in the basketball season and the Broncos find themselves in seventh place in the WAC with a 3-5 record. Wednesday night, Boise State plays at San Jose State.

To have any hope of finishing in the top half of the Western Athletic Conference standings, Boise State had to defeat Idaho on the road last week. They did but still find themselves in seventh place in the league. Coach Greg Graham's team has a return engagement with San Jose this Wednesday night in California. When the two teams met in Boise, the Broncos shot out to a 17-point lead, only to relinquish it thanks to 23 turnovers. Coby Karl led a late charge helped by the home crowd to pull a victory out of the fire. This team, they won't have the home fans. Can they again grab a big lead and this time, will they hold on to the lead? Will they be able to limit their turnovers sometime this year?

San Jose State is 1-5 in the WAC and 5-14 overall. Their only conference win of the season was at Idaho. San Jose is averaging 63.7 points as a team while allowing 68.4 points per game for its opponents. The Spartans feature a balanced attack with six players doing most of the scoring. Alex Elam (6-4, 200, Sr.) leads the Spartans with a 13.2 average with Demetrius Brown (6-6, 230, Sr.) close behind at 13.0 points per game. Carlton Spencer (6-2, 180, Jr.) contributes 8.1 points a game, Matt Misko (6-11, 225, Sr.) is at 6.3, Menelik Barbary (6-9, 230, Jr.) contributes 6.5 and Julian Richardson (6-1, 160, Jr.) 5.8 points per contest. Barbary is also fifth in the WAC in blocked shots with 26.

Richardson (22-59) is the top threat from long distance. Barbary is a force inside with 45 offensive rebounds out of 95 total. In fact, no less than six Spartans have at or above 50 rebounds. Spencer has 82, Elam and Brown 71 each, Kevin Fleming (6-6, 215, Jr.) 68, and Misko 61. San Jose also does not make mistakes; their 14.1 turnovers per game attests to that. They also attack the offensive glass; the Spartans are third in the WAC in offensive rebounds averaging 12.47 per game.

The team's weakness is shooting; they are hitting just 40.8% from the floor on the season.

Coby Karl had a sensational week for the Broncos last week in hitting a career-high of 32 against Nevada and another 25 vs. Idaho. Karl moved within 5 points of Bronco great Ron Austin (1969-1971) for 13th place on the all-time Bronco scoring list and is now 25 behind Bryan Defares (2000-2004) for 12th place. Eric Lane hit for 18 against Idaho, but had five turnovers.

Boise State had the right idea in gaining a big advantage at the outset; they just have to keep pounding away. For this team to move up in the league standings, they have to win on the road and beating teams like San Jose State is a prerequisite.




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