This was a big upset for SJSU, as they put a wooping on Western Athletic Conference leader Hawai'i Saturday night at the Event Center.
Carl English, who came into the game leading the Western Athletic Conference in scoring with 20 points per game for Hawaii (11-3, 4-2 WAC), was held to a season-low six points on 2-of-9 shooting. He fouled out with four minutes to play.
San Jose State (4-10, 1-4) jumped out to an early lead with an aggressive defense that contained English and recorded eight first-half steals. The Spartans led by 14 points, 43-29, at halftime.
Antonio Lawrence scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half to pace San Jose State early, and Keith Everage, who was averaging less than 20 minutes and six points per game, played the entire game and added 14 points. Lawrence and Everage each grabbed 11 rebounds.
Hawaiis Phil Martin, who played only two minutes in the first half, exploded for 14 points in the first 12 minutes of the second half and finished with a team-high 18 points.
Forward Phil Martin kept the 'Bows in the game, scoring 16 second half points to finish with 18 on 8-of-10 shooting. Guard Michael Kuebler added 14 points while preseason WAC player of the year Carl English was limited to six points before fouling out with 4:03 remaining.
After trailing 36-21 with 5:42 left, the 'Bows went on an 8-0 run, culminating with a Kuebler trey to cut the deficit to 36-29 with under 3:00 to play.
However, Antonio Lawrence hit a twenty footer just as the first half was ending, which set the tone for the second half.
"San Jose State brought it to us and we just didn't get started," head coach Riley Wallace said. "In the end, we didn't make our free throws, which could have brought us back. We didn't do anything right and they did everything right."
After trailing by double digits for much of the game, the 'Bows cut the deficit to five with 12:48 to play on a Kuebler 3-pointer. But Hawai'i could never get it under five and Spartans went on a 20-9 run during a seven-minute span, in which Hawkins scored 13 to put the game away.
Hawkins finished 8-of-11 shooting from the field. Forward Keith West added 20 points and Antonio Lawrence (16 pts./11 reb.) and Keith Everage (14 pts./11 reb.) each had double-doubles.
Hawai'i fell behind early in the game as the Spartans used an 11-0 run to open a 13-4 advantage. SJSU went ahead 22-9 with 13:43 to play on a Scott Sonneberg jumper.
It's the second straight season San Jose State has started the season winless in the conference, but then upset Hawaii at home. Last year the Spartans won 57-53 after starting 0-6 in WAC play.
Here is today's SJ Mercury News' rendition of the big win:
SPARTANS TOP HAWAII TO END 8-GAME SKID
By Ron Bergman- Mercury News Reporter
Hawaii, vying for first place in the Western Athletic Conference, should have had it easy Saturday at the Event Center:
San Jose State's leading scorer and rebounder, Carlton ``Oudie'' Baker, is no longer with the team, and the Spartans' tallest player, 6-foot-8 Eric Walton, bruised his right thigh in practice Friday.
But the Spartans snapped an eight-game losing streak, trouncing the Rainbow Warriors 79-67 for their first conference victory of the season.
And the game wasn't even that close.
``We knew we were going to be little,'' said freshman walk-on Keith Everage, at 6-foot-5, the tallest available Spartan. ``Coach told us they were big and slow.''
Hawaii (11-3, 4-2) was coming off an 88-77 victory over Fresno State on Monday. Carl English, the WAC's leading scorer, had 30 against the Bulldogs, and teammate Michael Kuebler chipped in 29. English was held to six against the Spartans, 14 below his average, on 2-of-9 shooting.
Coach Phil Johnson ``gave us an awesome game plan,'' SJSU's Brandon Hawkins said. ``Not letting English and Kuebler get their touches. We didn't even go over our own offense.''
English took only three shots in the first half, Kuebler five, and the Spartans led 43-29 at the break.
Hawaii opened the second half in a zone set for the first time this season and combined it with a frantic backcourt trap.
``We thought when we got it down to five points, we could break them,'' Hawaii Coach Riley Wallace said. ``But they didn't break.''
A layup by English with 11:11 to play trimmed the Spartans' advantage to 50-45.
That was as close as it got, because San Jose State kept attacking until Hawaii's legs gave out.
Driving relentlessly to the basket despite their smaller statures, the Spartans carved out a 21-point lead with three minutes left.
SJSU took it to their taller opponents for 48 points in the paint and out-rebounded the WAC's leading rebounding team 37-34.
``Why stay out there and shoot the ball from there when they're so tall they're going to get the rebound anyway?'' Hawkins said. ``We wanted to be the attackers and not the attackees.''
The Spartans' Keith West and Antonio Lawrence grabbed 11 rebounds each. Hawkins topped all scorers with 22 points, and West had 20.
Johnson, a former assistant with the Chicago Bulls, showed the Spartans defense-oriented NBA videotapes during the week.
``We watched a lot of tape of old-school basketball in practice,'' Everage said.
When asked if the tapes were black-and-white films of the Rochester Royals against the Minneapolis Lakers, Everage, said, ``No, they were in color, Pat Riley, Miami Heat games.''
Johnson said the videos were from ``five or six years ago. That's old times to these guys.''