Two miles or so separate San Jose State and Santa Clara University but the sports history between the basketball teams seems a distant memory as the Spartans now see Western Athletic Conference opponents as their primary rivals and the Broncos feel the same about West Coast Conference foes. Neither the games at Walt McPherson Court nor at the Leavey Center between the schools pack in fans to the rafters. But it's always fun to claim a win and establish so-called local annual superiority and San Jose State did just that Wednesday evening. Wearing their road blue uniforms, they left the Broncos blue by a score of 74-68.
At the half, Santa Clara led 30-25. The Broncos then opened the difference to ten, 39-29, on a Ray Cowels trey, followed by a steal leading to a Niyi Harrison dunk.
Santa Clara enjoyed a 44-39 lead at the 11:23 mark but Mac Petersen apparently took insult of the situation. He hit four free throws and a layup, sandwiched in and around a Justin Graham layup, two foul shots by Adrian Oliver and a Robert Owens trey to boost San Jose State to a 54-47 lead.
Santa Clara battled back but three-pointers by Owens and then Peterson kept the Spartans ahead. Back-to-back Bronco steals and points soon closed the gap to two -- 66-64, before Oliver hit a jumper with 40 seconds remaining.
Michael Santos of Santa Clara was fouled but hit just one of two foul shots and Oliver subsequently nailed both his free throws to make the score 70-65. Robert Smith made a layup for the Broncos but Oliver threaded another pair at the foul line, followed by a second twosome making it 74-68.
Oliver finished with a double-double of 24 points and 12 boards, Peterson concluded with 17 and Owens added 12.
Chris Oakes again wasn't available so Kyle Thomas started in his place and Peterson also was sent out as a member of the SJSU quintet for the initial jump ball. Oakes is sitting while a paperwork snafu is being appealed to the NCAA, an organization which makes molasses seems Usain Bolt-like and it being holiday time isn't making the situation any more expedient.
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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Oliver Leads Spartans Over Santa Clara
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