San Jose State Basketball Team Report.

A loss to UC Santa Barbara is just the latest close call for San Jose State, which has been more competitive but is still struggling in the win-loss column under first-year coach George Nessman.

The evidence keeps piling up that the Spartans just can't seem to get over the hump.

A loss to UC Santa Barbara is just the latest close call for San Jose State, which has been more competitive but is still struggling in the win-loss column under first-year coach George Nessman.

The Spartans nearly erased an 18-point second half deficit against the Gauchos on Feb. 18, but Tyree Gardner missed a good look from three-point land with less than a second left. SJSU lost, 74-72, to fall to 6-19.

"Tyree got an awfully clean look at the basket with no one in front of him. He took a good shot. ... He just didn't make it," Nessman said.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that it was the 12th loss this season in which SJSU had a chance to win.

"It's hard for our team to be at this point again ... but it was really a tremendous effort on our part to be in that spot," Nessman said after the loss to the Gauchos. "Our guys came out and represented themselves to the very end."

--Coach George Nessman isn't a big fan of the BracketBuster event that disrupted the WAC schedule late in the season.

For the Spartans, the event split up a road trip. They had a Wednesday game at Louisiana Tech, a Saturday home game, and then a Monday game at New Mexico State.

And as for exposure ... well, it's not like the San Jose State game against Santa Barbara was on one of the networks of ESPN, which created the event.

"It's not a very good event in my view, in terms of everybody but the few teams that are on ESPN," Nessman was quoted as saying in the San Jose Mercury News. "For the rest of us, what the heck are we doing?

"We understand as coaches that ESPN is important. Nobody is trying to downplay that. But we're giving up an awful lot as a conference to be on ESPN."

--San Jose State ranks last in the WAC in attendance, in conference games only. The Spartans have drawn an average of 1,352 for six home league games, an average of 40 worse than Idaho.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Obviously, Paul Millsap is a great player and, tonight, he played like one. Twenty-eight rebounds is an awful lot of rebounds. In the first half, I thought we gave him some.

The second half, we made him fight for every one of them and he just got them. That's how good he is." -- SJSU coach George Nessman after Louisiana Tech's Millsap ripped down 28 rebounds on Feb. 15

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Devonte Thomas, 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, G Tyree Gardner.

GAME REVIEW:

Louisiana Tech 74, San Jose State 63

UC Santa Barbara 74, San Jose State 72

GAME PREVIEW:

at New Mexico State, Monday, Feb. 20.

vs. Fresno State, Thursday, Feb. 23.

vs. Hawaii, Saturday, Feb. 25.

at Nevada, Thursday, March 2.

at Utah State, Saturday, March 4.

KEYS: The final home games of the season offer the best chances to get victories, as each remaining road game appears to be too tall of a mountain.

The Spartans couldn't control Fresno State forward Hector Hernandez the first time around, but should be better prepared.

Neither could they stop Hawaii's Julian Sensley in the first meeting, showing the difficulty SJSU has in defending tall forwards.

ROSTER REPORT:

--G Carlton Spencer scored a career-high 29 points against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 18. At one point in the second half, he scored 15 consecutive points in a 15-7 SJSU run.

Spencer, who is averaging only 9.2 points, had 25 in the second half.

--G Devonte Thomas, a freshman who was a significant Northern California recruit for coach George Nessman, made the first start of his career Feb. 18 against UC Santa Barbara.

He missed three shots and didn't score in 20 minutes, although he did grab four rebounds. He started in place of Tyree Gardner.

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