At about the halfway point of the season, the Spartans are left wondering "what if?"
They have lost games by one point, two points and four points and were within striking distance of two superior WAC teams in the opening week of conference play, falling to Utah State, 67-56, and Nevada, 63-56.
The defending champ Wolf Pack was picked to win the league again this season, with Utah State predicted for second.
"All we can do is fight hard, do the best we can and try to put ourselves in position to win, and I think we did that in both of these games," coach George Nessman was quoted as saying by the San Jose Mercury News. "They're both better teams than us right now. I don't think our team could have played any harder either night."
Despite signs of progress, San Jose State is 4-11 overall, 0-2 in the league and 1-5 at home. There will be plenty of patience with Nessman, in his first season after taking over for Phil Johnson. Nessman already has pulled in some solid recruits, and the product on the court is more competitive.
SJSU was 6-23 a season ago, 3-15 in the WAC.
Team Report: Notes and Quotes
--San Jose State doesn't like playing without Demetrius Brown but has learned to do it.
Brown missed four games earlier this season due to a bacterial infection, and he was a late scratch from the Jan. 7 game against Nevada because of a thigh bruise. SJSU lost, 63-56, and certainly could have used the senior's average of 14.2 points and his team-high 5.0 rebounds. It's intriguing to wonder if the Spartans could have pulled off the upset had they been full strength.
"We have a hard time speculating," said coach George Nessman, "(Backup) Kevin Fleming did a great job. We've played without (Brown) before. Hopefully, this is the last one."
--San Jose State ranks last in the WAC in field goal percentage (41.5) and three-point shooting (28.8).
--SJSU has lost 12 consecutive conference games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's no mystery that we've had a tough time scoring points. We're really trying to create ways to get our guys to score. We just can't get it to go down." -- SJSU coach George Nessman, in the San Jose Mercury News.
Team Report: Roster Report
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Tyree Gardner, G Carlton Spencer, G Alex Elam, F Demetrius Brown, F Menelik Barbary. Key Subs -- C Matt Misko, F Kevin Fleming, G Julian Richardson, G Jared Cozad.
GAME REVIEW: Utah State 67, San Jose State 56
Nevada 63, San Jose State 56
at Boise State, Thursday, Jan. 19.
at Idaho, Saturday, Jan. 21.
KEYS: San Jose State has an unusual 12-day break between the Nevada game and the matchup at Boise State on Jan. 19. That should be plenty of time for Demetrius Brown's thigh injury to heal.
--G Carlton Spencer scored a career-high 15 points against Nevada, helping to pick up the scoring slack for injured Demetrius Brown. He made 7 of 11 shots from the field, far above his season average of 38.2 percent.
--G Julian Richardson has been the team's main three-point threat, hitting 38.8 percent (19 of 49).
The unauthorized reproduction of all intellectual property on this site is prohibited. There is no implied consent, and you must have expressed, and prior written consent to republish our articles in part or in whole.
Copyright © 2005-06 SpartanThunder.com and Scout.com in association with FoxSports.com on MSN.