Post Turkey Analysis on UCSC win and SLO loss...

Sorry that this article is late being posted, but the SpartanThunder staff ate too much Turkey, and we fell a sleep for the past three days! However, SJSU lost to Cal Poly-SLO, but, read this story anyways to get "caught up" with SJSU hoops!

Interesting goings-on down at the Rec center during the Santa Cruz game:

A group of "youths" sitting courtside under the basket were just going wild during the game, mostly at the high-wire act being performed by D.J. Brown. You would have thought they were at Rucker Park.

Anyhow, the ball came to one of the kids, and this teenager took the ball, walked "onto" the court and spun the ball at the ref.

To be honest, it was pretty surreal seeing this kid thrust himself unto the scene—as if he were a part of the show. But that ref (who was at least three times this kid's age) took the ball, walked toward the kid, stared him down, and turned his back to him. He didn't call security or staff pro; he took care of it himself.

It was one of those mano-on-mano moments—and the old guy won.

Score one for the elderly.

Still, the Spartans put on quite a show against the Slugs. If you missed it because the team played a lower-level team, man, that was your loss.

The players really were able to show off some of their skills and aerial work, which is probably only shown after practice or during a scrimmage. The thing is—it won't get any easier the rest of that way.

Yeah, there will be dunks, but they will have to earn them…

And talk about easy:

Why don't we play San Jose Christian College? We play Menlo and the Santa Cruz; I would imagine that the Warriors couldn't be any worse then those teams. SJCC travels all the way to Northern Arizona and Sac St., why not stay at home and play us?

Besides, the entire Warrior campus could walk over and watch the game. Stop by Super Taqueria for dinner—yummm: Carne Asada Super Burrito. And, I think Gary Payton's brother is playing for them: Cory Payton, 6-4 wing from Oakland.

I might have to check them out: After exiting off of 280 onto 10th street, make a right, right after 7-11.

You can't miss the campus.

Some quick thoughts about the actual game against Santa Cruz:

Brett Lilly is rolling! Last year, he was playing out of position by being forced into duty as a post player. And it wasn't coach Johnson's fault; he had no choice, Brett was one of his tallest players. I'm sure coach Johnson had it drawn up where Carlton Baker would post up and then kick it out to Brett for an open three.

But as it turned out: Brett became Baker. And, as a power player, you play with your back to the basket. So the entire game Brett had no perception of the goal, and would literally have to make a 180 to get a shot off.

Now, he's back at wing; running the baseline, dancing around the arc, getting great looks at the basket and nailing shots. Cool!

Phil Calvert is a going to be a difference maker this year.

Phil did not score or play particularly well, but he was constantly "in" the game and always the first guy to get off the bench to meet the players. His toughness, leadership and ability will give the team an edge throughout the season.

A telling moment in the game says all there is to say about this man's character: Half a minute left in the game, Phil has the ball and has yet to score. Most players would take a shot, but not Phil; he set up Lance Holloway for his first bucket as a Spartan. How many players would have been so unselfish?

Marquin Chandler looks bigger than 6-7. He is also a natural wing, but has some really nice moves down in the box. A very versatile player. He also shot and missed a couple of threes that were not off by much. He has a really nice release.

Mike McFadden is going to be something to watch when Kyle Wilson returns in 4 games. He might still have to run the point, but it will be fun watching him and D.J. Brown in the open court with a true point guard.

On tap: Cal Poly

After watching Pacific hang with Duke (Great Alaskan Shootout), I'm going out on a limb and say that Pacific may be the better team. Cal Poly had a nice win against Cal, but Cal hasn't been exactly blowing teams away. Cal Poly's last opponent Colorado took care of business against the ‘Stangs rather easily (I thought).

Colorado features David Harrison, the best player in the country over 7 feet, but the Buffalos do not have a strong supporting cast. The Buffs lost badly to Pepperdine the night before, despite 30 from Harrison.

Still, a win for the Spartans at Cal Poly would be an upset. But it would go a long way in this team's turn-around.

Possible match ups:

Center: Eric Walton (6-8 215) vs. Varney Dennis (6-7 275)

Edge: Cal Poly

Eric had his hands full with Yango of Pacific, now he gets Dennis—same size, but a much better player. Varney held his own against Harrison and matched him almost point-for-point. He is big and physical. He hits everything within 10 feet and he always goes hard to the boards. He seems to think he can hit threes, but he can't. If he starts jacking those up, then Eric should let him and look for the long rebound. As for Eric, he dominated again, against smaller opponents. Now he gets someone his own size. Eric can use his athleticism and run Dennis out of the gym. Eric is also quicker and longer then Dennis.

Biggish Forward: Nick Enzweiller (6-7 220) vs. D.J. Brown (6-6 230)

Edge: Spartans

This one is going to be a great battle all night long. The UTEP transfer, Nick, had always killed the Spartans in the past. He is a nice wing player, with some sweet moves in the post. He can hit from just about everywhere on the court, including threes. The Spartans edge is that the team can go at Nick using both Chandler and Brown. Chandler is a guy who can play him straight up and Brown can either muscle him or out-quick, Nick. Either way, this match up is key to the game. Winner takes all!

Smaller Forward: Vladimir Lisinac (6-9 220) vs. Brett Lilly (6-6 205)

Edge: Spartans (slight)

Lisinac starts, but doesn't see a lot of minutes. The Yugoslavian is a long player, but doesn't like much contact. He floats around the wing and doesn't really look for his shot.

However, I think the difference will be he can come out and challenge Brett; he is quick enough to stay with him. If Brett has a shot, he better get it off in a hurry.

Off Guard:

Eric Jackson (6-4 200) vs. Phil Calvert (6-3 210)

Edge: Mustangs (slight)

Jackson is a really nice player and is very similar to Calvert. He provides team leadership and ability. He can shoot a three, he can lead a break and he can grab a board. I'm thinking that, on the road against a tough team, coach Johnson will go with Phil. I'm don't think he'll be expecting Calvert to score much, but shutting down the steady Jackson will go a long way to win this game.

Point Guard:

Kameron Gray (6-1 170) vs. Mike McFadden (6-5 205)

Edge: Spartans:

Talk about a contrast in style: Gray is just a water bug, but boy is he erratic. He has an almost 1 to 1 turnover to assist ratio, and he is a terrible shooter. But he can be deadly if he gets it going. Unconscious scorer. Fired it up against the Buffs as if his life depended on it. McFadden is a steady hand, but he can more than keep up with Gray. On Offense, he can post Gray up or take him off the dribble. This will be a fun match up—again, winner takes all.

Bench:

Edge: Spartans

Guard/forward Mike Titchenal (6-5 190) will log a lot of minutes. He was the starter before Nick E got there, so he adds a lot of depth. Freshmen Keith Lawrence (5-11 180) Tyler McGinn (6-5 200), and John Manley (6-8 220) have been getting some valuable minutes off the bench.

This is a very inexperienced bench. It will be to the Spartans advantage if they can the starters into foul trouble.

Got my first look at Marquin Chandler (6-7 220) against the slugs, and I was very impressed. Keith Everage (6-5 215) is still working out the kinks, but still has one of the fastest releases on the team.

Every time I see Kareem Guilbeaux (6-3 182), he seems to get better. I think he realizes that his minutes could drop as the talent level rises, and I don't think he wants that to happen.

Bim Okunrinboye (6-0 189) will log a lot of minutes against Gray. He can definitely slow him down. Aaron Watson (6-6 230) will also see a lot of time against Nick and Varney (sound like a brokerage firm).

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San Luis Obispo, Calif.-

Reserve forward Mike Titchenal scored a career-high 15 points as Cal Poly defeated San Jose State University, 70-62, in a non-conference men's basketball game.

Titchenal, the grandson of former Spartan football head coach Bob Titchenal, matched his previous career scoring high of 11 points in the first half with the help of three three-point baskets. The 6-foot-6 forward then hit four free throws in the final minute of the game to ensure the Mustangs' win.

"It was a good breakout game for Mike. He hit some big free throws down the stretch," said Cal Poly head coach Kevin Bromley of the younger Titchenal whose grandfather was the starting center and captain of the Spartans' 1939 team that had a perfect 13-0 win-loss record. Bob Titchenal later was the head coach of the San Jose State football team from 1957 through 1964.

San Jose State (1-2) had its poorest shooting night of the season making just 41.4 percent of its field goal tries. The Spartans were equally as poor from the free throw line making just 9-of-20. Making just 3-of-9 free throws and committing 12 of its season-high 18 turnovers in the first half, San Jose State still managed a 34-33 lead.

Cal Poly (2-1) took command of the game midway through the second half scoring seven consecutive points to break a 46-46 tie and take a 53-46 lead. The Spartans went without a field goal for a 6:53 span, but still were close when guard Bim Okunrinboye ended the drought with a lay-up to trim the deficit to 59-53 with 3:34 remaining.

"We didn't execute. That's what it came down to. We were looking to shoot too soon and we didn't knock down our free throws," said Okunrinboye, who scored a career-high 14 points.

"We have to reexamine who can shoot the ball. (Tonight) getting the ball inside was not sound basketball," said San Jose State coach Phil Johnson, who pointed out three of his post players, Eric Walton, Keith Everage and Aaron Watson combined to shoot 2-for-11 from the field.

Demetrius Brown, the team's other post player, led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points, but was just 5-of-13 from the field.

"We showed no poise and didn't run any offense at all," added Johnson about San Jose State's second-half field goal woes that resulted in making only 11-of-32 field goal tries.


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