The praise is encouraging, but the results are not.
San Jose State continues to suffer painfully close losses, hovering just above last-place Idaho in the WAC standings with a 5-16 overall mark, 1-7 in the league.
But it was Graham's team that put a 77-75 loss on the Spartans on Feb. 1. That marked the ninth time SJSU has lost by 10 points or less ... and the fourth loss in which the margin was three points or less.
SJSU was tied with Hawaii at halftime on Feb. 4, but then went on to lose, 83-68.
It was one of the rare conference games that the Spartans didn't have a chance to win late.
"I'm almost at a loss for words now," coach George Nessman said. "It's very difficult to keep coming close and come up short."
Notes and Quotes:
--It's not a made-for-TV game, but San Jose State will take on a familiar rival on Feb. 18 as one of the fringe games for the Bracket Buster event.
The Spartans will play host to UC Santa Barbara in what will be the 101st meeting in a series that dates to 1939. The last time the former Big West rivals met was in 1999-2000. San Jose State holds a 52-48 edge in the series.
--The Spartans rank last in the WAC in shooting percentage (40.9) and three-point percentage (29.4).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I like what (George Nessman) is doing. He has a good game plan. They have good players. They play hard. I think he's playing good basketball." -- Hawaii coach Riley Wallace, on first-year SJSU coach George Nessman.
Boise State 75, San Jose State 73
Hawaii 83, San Jose State 68
vs. Idaho, Thursday, Feb. 9.
at Fresno State, Saturday, Feb. 11.
at Louisiana Tech, Wednesday, Feb. 15.
vs. UC Santa Barbara, Saturday, Feb. 18.
KEYS: SJSU picked up its only conference victory of the season by beating Idaho on Jan. 21.
The Spartans held a 43-33 rebounding edge, a rarity for them. They did commit 18 turnovers in that game, and will need to keep that number under control if they want to avoid an upset loss.
The matchup against area rival Fresno State will be the first of the season, and an important one as SJSU coach George Nessman has already stepped up recruiting efforts in northern California, cutting into familiar Fresno State turf.
--G Alex Elam is the team's leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and is a senior leader, but he did contribute to a series of mistakes that have proved costly down the stretch of several games.
When SJSU squandered a 10-point second-half lead to Boise State on Feb. 1, Elam committed a foul on a three-point attempt with 1:46 left that allowed the Broncos to take the lead. BSU won, 77-75.
--G Julian Richardson is an adequate shooting guard on a poor-shooting team, making 23 of 61 three-point attempts, 37.7 percent.
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