Mac Peterson offered a bust-out performance with 17 points (4-7 on treys, 5-6 from the foul line), Adrian Oliver also scored 17 and Justin Graham contributed 15. Oliver had a target on both the front and back of his jersey for Highlander defenders all game long and rarely got an open look.
Riverside's plan of attack was to pack defenders inside -- versus Oliver being the exception -- and take chances with Spartan outside-shooting. It worked.
For the game, UCR shot 49% overall (26-53) to SJSU's 39%. The Spartans connected on 8-24 three-point attempts and also went 14-21 at the foul line. The Highlanders won the battle of the boards 37-29. They also made just 33% from long range but attempted just nine shots.
A Graham scoop shot put the Spartans back ahead 52-51 in the second half. The lead see-sawed after that until Riverside began pulling away. The Highlanders' Kyle Austin -- hard to guard all afternoon -- scored inside, He finished with 20 points and 14 boards. Konner Veteto nailed two free throws and a Larry Gurganious dunk put UCR up 64-57.
Austin grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 67-60 with 1:20 remaining. Oliver followed with a trey to bring San Jose State to within four but it became a march to the foul line after that.
Riverside led 36-27 after 20 minutes. The Highlanders shot 53% and out-rebounded the Spartans 18-14. Curiously, despite some banging inside, UCR earned just one free throw attempt and San Jose State three by that point.
It was 13-11 in favor of San Jose at the 12:41 mark. UCR re-took the lead and led 18-15 with 8:20 remaining, keeping the lead through halftime.
The Riverside game plan may prove to be a template for other Spartan opponents. Better shooting and pounding the offensive boards are the obvious prescription.
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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at email@example.com
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