It was a battle of middleweights, quite the appropriate Whelliston-ian reference for two mid-major schools. One would throw a punch, so to speak, followed with a rejoinder by the other. But neither could achieve a knockout so it was a match to be decided on points (pun intended).
San Jose State eventually triumphed over visiting Idaho by a score of 78-75.
For the Spartans C.J. Webster re-introduced himself to the WAC, (and Idaho specifically), with a 21/11 double-double. Adrian Oliver topped San Jose with 22 points. Chris Oakes contributed 18.
Midway through the second half, a five point run brought SJSU to within one at 56-55.
San Jose State then pulled ahead by seven and it was 71-65 in favor of the Spartans with 3:41 remaining. Kashif Watson scored for the Vandals sandwiched around a SJSU travel and a turnover on a steal.
Mac Peterson, off all night with his shooting, then nailed a trey, extending the Spartans lead to 74-67. It was his sole make of the evening.
But Idaho wasn't done just yet.
Mac Hopson put in a deuce to bring the margin back to five, 74 to 69, at the 1:08 mark.
Adrian Oliver followed with a matching fallaway jumper.
Idaho's Luiz Toledo was fouled and made one of two free throw attempts, making it 76-70.
Oliver misfired with a one-and-one at the foul line and Luciano de Souza calmly came down and buried a three-pointer, making it a one possession game at 76-73.
San Jose State's Robert Owens was fouled on the following possession and cooly knocked down both shots.
But amazingly, Watson was then fouled attempting a three-pointer. He made the front and back end shots, missing the middle attempt and that's how the contest ended.
The Vandals led 38-37 at the half. In that first half, Webster topped SJSU with 13 points on 6-7 shooting. Chris Oakes missed some time as a precaution due to a pair of fouls. Idaho had just four free throw attempts after the first 20 minutes, making all. The biggest Idaho lead was three -- it was four for the Spartans. Luciano de Souza shot a sizzling 5-8.
After being out-boarded in the first half, San Jose State rebounded (again pun intended) to win that battle 29-24.
Idaho was led by Mac Hopson with 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Steffan Johnson helped out with 15 points -- on five three-pointers.
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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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Spartans Win WAC Opener 78-75
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