A bad day could not have been worse for the San Jose State Spartans, whose football team lost to Nevada on Saturday afternoon, 37-34 in overtime.
Hours later in the evening, the men’s basketball team lost 74-54 to the Idaho Vandals. As the Spartans struggled to create quality shots, Idaho controlled the pace throughout. The visitors had a 15-2 lead within by 12:20 left in the first half. San Jose State’s offense could not put the ball through the basket, as many balls bounced in and out. The team could not drive inside the perimeter and often took long-distance shots. Offensive fouls and other turnovers did no favors, either.
Freshman forward Ryan Welage made a double-double in his collegiate debut, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Making 5 of 10 field goal attempts, he also had two assists and two steals.
Junior guard Gary Williams, Jr. was the only other Spartan to score in double figures. He had 13 points, six of which came from free throws. Williams made just 3 of 12 shots from the field from which he made his other seven points.
Around halftime, the Spartans showed some hints of a comeback. Welage hit a tip shot off an offensive rebound as time expired to put San Jose State within 34-18 at the half. Senior guard Princeton Onwas scored five unanswered points to cut the deficit to 34-21 within the first two minutes of the second half. However, the cold shooting would resume and allow Idaho to go on a 9-0 run and never look back.
“I know from practice and shootaround and everything just being with the guys that we can shoot the ball,” Welage commented after the game. “We even got good looks, and they just didn’t go down tonight.”
In the first half, San Jose State made just 5 of 32 shots from the field, including 1 of 16 on three-pointers.
“I don’t think we penetrated the zone enough, moved the ball enough, and I think that resulted in some bad shots,” said Welage.
“We took quick shots, which led to run outs and transition baskets for [Idaho],” stated San Jose State head coach Dave Wojcik. Because of this risk, he added that it is important for players to learn not to take quick shots even when trailing.
The Spartans return to action with a home matchup on Monday, November 16 against the Montana Grizzlies at 7 p.m. at the Event Center. Montana, like Idaho in the Big Sky Conference, is 1-0 after beating the Mountain West’s Boise State 74-71 on Friday.