Another slow start, a winless homestand: San Jose State loses to Boise State 75-65

San Jose State began against Boise State down 7-0 and could not recover from that nor a 13-point halftime deficit.

San Jose State Spartans men’s basketball ended its two-game homestand winless on Saturday, while Boise State ended its two-game losing streak. Following an 80-70 loss to Wyoming on Wednesday, San Jose State lost 75-65 to the Boise State Broncos on Saturday at the Event Center.

Similar to Wednesday’s game, San Jose State started slowly and went into halftime with a double-digit deficit. Brandon Clarke scored 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting and had five rebounds. Ryan Welage grabbed six rebounds and scored 14 points, albeit on a less efficient four-for-14 shooting. Off the bench, Jaycee Hillsman also scored 14 points.

“If you take two shots, you got to be one-for-two,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Wojcik, who also said that Welage needs to learn “what’s a good shot” and “what’s a bad shot.”

This game pitted two of the Mountain West Conference’s top scorers, as Clarke entered as the fourth-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, and Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison was at third with 17.8. Hutchison scored 15 points and was one of four Boise State players scoring in double figures. David Wacker led with 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Paris Austin, the only Boise State player from the Bay Area, added 11 points, and James Reid had 10.

Boise State began on a 7-0 run as San Jose State began with a travel and two missed three-pointers. Clarke ended the scoring drought with a layup and later hit dunks off turnovers to keep San Jose State within one possession. However, San Jose State would never tie or take the lead, as Boise State continued to make buckets while San Jose State struggled to shoot.

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“We’re giving teams too many second [and] third opportunities at the basket,” said Wojcik about San Jose State’s rebounding. Boise State had 33 rebounds to San Jose State’s 23.

Cody Schwartz hit a three to pull San Jose State within 37-28 with nearly three minutes remaining in the first half, but that would be the Spartans’ only three-point make out of 13 tries all game. Wacker hit four free throws, including two in the last second after being fouled by Ryan Singer, to put Boise State up 43-30 at the half.

“We had open looks…but you’ve got to make six [or] seven,” said Wojcik, who praised his team for not attempting as many three-pointers as in previous games.

Clarke and Welage hit jumpers to begin the second half for San Jose State, but Boise State always had answers and led by as many as 14. A layup and and-one free throw by Hillsman got San Jose State within 50-39, but Clarke was called for a travel after making a defensive rebound and falling to the floor with the ball. Wojcik walked on the court to argue the call and was issued a technical foul.

“I wanted our guys to see that I’m fighting for them,” said Wojcik about his technical. “…Sometimes, you’ve got to try to spark your team.”

After building a 56-43 lead, Boise State went on a nearly 11-minute field goal drought and committed six turnovers. Despite these mistakes, San Jose State could only get as close as 67-61 inside two minutes remaining. As both teams got in foul trouble before the 10-minute mark, much of the second half was a free throw contest. San Jose State missed six free throws in the second half, including four by leading scorer Clarke.

Despite the two-game losing streak, Wojcik expressed optimism about the direction of his team.

“We’ve recruited quality student-athletes, character kids, but not just basketball players. They’re good citizens, and they’re good students,” said Wojcik.

“If [the players] don’t see me being patient, they’re not going to be patient”, said the fourth-year head coach.

Wojcik also credited Boise State for coming in with “a desperate attitude” after two straight losses.

San Jose State falls to 9-9 (2-5 MW), while Boise State improves to 12-6 (5-2 MW) and ties Nevada for first place. The team visits Colorado State (12-8, 4-3 MW) on Wednesday then returns home on Saturday to host UNLV (10-10, 3-4 MW).

Notes:

  • Prior to becoming head coach at San Jose State, Wojcik was an assistant at Boise State under Leon Rice from 2010 to 2013. Rice is now in his seventh season at Boise State.
  • Walk-on sophomore guard EJ Boyce, a junior college transfer from Southern Idaho and native of Boise, made his second start of the season. His other start was in the Nov. 27 win over Washington State.
  • Hillsman played 20 minutes, the most since playing 14 on Jan. 10 at San Diego State and first game with 20 or more minutes since Dec. 10 against Life Pacific. In the previous two games, Hillsman played a combined eight minutes.
  • From 1979 to 1989, San Jose State had five winning seasons under head coach Bill Berry. However, since firing Berry, San Jose State has had just two winning seasons: 1993-94 (15-12 record) and 2010-11 (17-16). The 2010-11 season was also the last season with 10 or more wins. Dating back to 1997-98, San Jose State has had eight seasons with 10 or more wins.
  • Boise State guard Paris Austin is one of two Boise State players from California. Austin attended Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland.


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