Men's Hoops: Spartans Down Anteaters 78-68

Four San Jose State players scored in double figures, including 29 points by Adrian Oliver, in the Spartans 78-68 victory over visting UC-Irvine on Monday night. The victory improved the Spartans overall record to 7-5 as they head into their WAC opener on January 4th.

Back on December 18, San Jose State took to the court of the Bren Center and won 69-56 over UC Irvine. Tonight, it was a rematch on Walt McPherson Court and the Spartans again came out on top, 78-68, versus the Anteaters.

Adrian Oliver led the way with 29 points. Justin Graham notched eight assists. Chris Oakes returned to action, posting six points and four boards in 19 minutes.

SJSU shot well all night, going 52% overall, 79% from the foul line and 60% from three-point range. In contrast, the Anteaters struggled with 42%, 39% and 28% respectively. That middle figure is not a typo.

UCI got the first possession and what then took place proved to be a telltale sign: the initial Anteater shot was an air ball. Before seven minutes were up, starting center Zack Atkinson incurred two fouls and had to sit. He ended up with one point in 10 minutes of play.

At the half, it was 41-35 in favor of SJSU.

The opening of the second 20 minutes had the Spartans playing strong. Oliver nailed a trey, C.J. Webster completed an old fashioned three-point play and Oliver followed with a dribble-drive left-handed layup.

Irvine closed the lead to eight a few times but could never get any closer.

Eric Wise led the Anteaters with 31 points and seven boards. Wayne Hunter chipped in with 19, primarily on the basis of 5-12 long-distance shooting.

Remarkably, UCI scored four more baskets than San Jose State but it took 23 more shot attempts in order to do so. SJSU scored 16 more points at the foul line.

There were multiple factors at play in tonight's victory: often enough great spacing, confident looks, the ability of Oliver and Graham to go left and still score and the confidence that comes with experience.

NOTES

Mac Peterson and Adrian Oliver broke their consecutive made free throw streaks as the former went 4-5 and the latter 7-8.

Oliver nearly broke the ankles of his defender on one play -- let's just say his opponent was turned around completely on what looked like an outside shot, then morphed into a brief but tricky dribble-drive, followed by a reverse fade-away jumper that netted three points. It's lucky the defender still had his shoes on after that sequence.

Idaho comes to town on January 4 to open WAC play.




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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at kevin@insidesparta.com

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