Excuses, Excuses, Excuses...

SPARTANS LOSE TO SMU 84 TO 55. <P> "We just played with no confidence in the second half and it got away from us so fast," said San Jose State coach Steve Barnes.

DALLAS - The SMU Mustangs claimed a big 84-55 win over the San Jose State Spartans on Saturday, Feb. 9, picking up their most one-sided league victory since joining the Western Athletic Conference and most lopsided conference win since an 87-54 win over TCU in a Southwest Conference game back on March 2, 1988.

Phil Calvert scored 16 points and Marion Thurmond had 11 for San Jose State in yet another frustrating loss.

"We just played with no confidence in the second half and it got away from us so fast," said San Jose State coach Steve Barnes, whose team suffered its most lopsided loss in 2001-02. "It was a complete mental breakdown that started with the opening possession (of the second half)."

The Mustangs were dominant defensively, holding San Jose to 39 percent shooting and creating 15 steals, the most single-game thefts for an SMU squad in two seasons. Justin Isham led the effort with six takeaways, the most for a Pony since Jeryl Sasser claimed seven against Texas-Pan American on Dec. 29, 2000.

SMU also outscored the Spartans on points-off-turnovers, 31-5, and fast-break points, 18-0.

"The first half went exactly as we needed it to go. We matched their intensity even though we had a few too many turnovers in the first half," added Barnes.

Senior Damon Hancock rebounded from a tough game against Hawaii with a game-high 25 points. Quinton Ross continued his excellent run of late recording a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Isham tied a career-high with 15 points.

The night also saw a milestone reached, as Ross broke the 1,000-career point barrier. He is just the ninth Mustang junior to reach the plateau and now has 1,019 points in his three years on the Hilltop.

With the win, SMU moves to 12-10, 7-5 in the WAC, while SJSU falls to 8-17, 3-10 in conference play.

"This was a good win against a team that beat (first-place) Hawaii and had won two of its last three," said SMU coach Mike Dement. "We were pressuring the ball better."

Stone cold-shooting by San Jose State lead to yet another poor performance for SJSU this year.

SMU also recorded 15 steals, six by Justin Isham.

The bigger question is....How many more excuses will Coach Steve Barnes fling at the fans, before he actually fesses up that it's all his fault?

Either Barnes is a poor coach, or a poor recruiter......Period.


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