San Jose State upsets San Diego State 76-71 before largest home crowd and national TV audience

Students stormed the court after San Jose State defeated defending Mountain West Conference regular season champions San Diego State 76-71 in a game televised on CBS Sports Network.

Overcoming an early offensive drought, San Jose State Spartans men’s basketball got a breakthrough, nationally televised 76-71 win over the visiting San Diego State Aztecs on Tuesday night that had students storming the court after the final buzzer. The first win over San Diego State since 1999, this game had a reported attendance of 3,107 and was shown on CBS Sports Network, with an unusual 8 p.m. tipoff time.

Brandon Clarke had another efficient performance, as he led San Jose State with 22 points on 11-for-15 shooting. Clarke also grabbed seven rebounds. Terrell Brown had 13 points and four rebounds. Ryan Welage and Brandon Mitchell each scored 10 points. Welage had five rebounds and Mitchell three.

“We’re sharing the ball,” said San Jose State head coach Dave Wojcik, who highlighted San Jose State’s assist-turnover ratio of 15-10. “…They really don’t care who scores, and that’s a good thing about this team, the chemistry.”

For San Diego State, Jeremy Hemsley and Trey Kell each scored 13 points and combined for 11 rebounds. Dakari Allen had 12 points and three rebounds, and Malik Pope had 10 points and three rebounds.

Neither team scored for the first two minutes, but San Diego State began on a 7-0 run, before Isaiah Nichols ended the San Jose State scoring drought with two free throws. After 0-for-10 shooting in the first five minutes, a Clarke layup pulled San Jose State within 9-4. Brown later beat the shot clock buzzer for a three-pointer to shrink the deficit to 11-9.

“He can make threes. That’s why he’s even harder to guard. You can’t lay off of him,” commented Wojcik about Brown.

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Both teams continued to exchange baskets, but San Diego State miscues allowed San Jose State to take over. Following a Montaque Gill-Caesar offensive foul, Clarke fired up the crowd hitting a slam dunk off a lob from Welage and giving San Jose State its first lead at 23-22. Just over 90 seconds later, San Jose State took advantage of three more San Diego State turnovers for a 29-23 lead. Despite good offensive rebounding by San Diego State in the last minute, San Diego State had only empty possessions to show for it but kept San Jose State’s halftime lead at 33-29.

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Despite two early blocked shots, Clarke scored on a dunk and sparked a 10-2 San Jose State run to begin the second half. However, San Diego State would not back down and pulled within 42-36 after a Kell three. Although full-court pressure caused Jalen James to lose the ball in the backcourt, San Diego State responded with two missed shots and turning the ball over to James. Welage scored a jumper to put San Jose State up 44-38, in a lucky four-point swing.

“They went from an on-the-ball, man-to-man, run-and-jump to a zone, dime, and press,” said Wojcik about the San Diego State defense.

San Diego State got within 46-43 and threatened to tie, after Brown threw the ball out of bounds under pressure. Instead, Brown got a steal, and Brandon Mitchell hit two free throws to begin a 7-0 San Jose State run.

San Jose State’s lead bounced between eight and 12 for many of the last ten minutes. The longer media timeouts for national television combined with the frequent fouls that turned the game into a free throw contest and pushed the game past ten o’clock.

Although San Jose State had a 74-65 lead with 36 seconds remaining, threes from Hemsley and Kell combined with a Jaycee Hillsman offensive foul shrank San Jose State’s lead to 74-71 with 20 seconds remaining. Fouled by Gill-Caesar, Isaac Thornton made both free throws. Kell missed a three, and Hillsman grabbed the rebound to seal the win.

Notes:

  • The reported attendance of 3,107 surpassed the Dec. 3 game against Santa Clara (reported attendance 2,237) for the largest home crowd. It was also the third home game with reported attendance of 2,000 or more.
  • This is the only scheduled nationally televised home game for San Jose State.


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