Spartans sweep aside Hawaii's Island Voodoo!

Keith West's running lay-up with :03.5 seconds remaining lifted San Jose State past Hawai'i, 55-54, Saturday night, in a Western Athletic Conference match-up in Hawaii!

HONOLULU - The series history between SJSU and Hawaii stands at it's 19th meeting. UH leads 11-7. Hawai`i has won seven of eight meetings in Honolulu with its only loss occurring Jan. 23, 1952.

In SJSU's last meeting with U of H, SJS won 79-67, Jan. 18, 2003 at the Event Center in San Jose, Calif. The Spartans built a 12-point halftime lead and held UH's Carl English to six points, his lowest output of the season.

Prior to last nights huge upset on the islands, the Spartans (6-15, 3-9 WAC): had dropped three straight since a dramatic 58-57 win over Tulsa, Jan. 30 in San Jose, Calif.

SJSU lost both games last week, an 82-69 loss at SMU (Feb. 6) and a 65-60 defeat to Louisiana Tech (Feb. 8).

Forward Antonio Lawrence (6-4, Jacksonville, FL) led the team in scoring in both games; 24 at SMU and 22 at La. Tech. On the year, the freshman is averaging 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

In the team's last meeting, guard Brandon Hawkins (6-3, Los Angeles, CA) scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The junior leads the team with an 11.6 scoring average. As a team, the Spartans average 67.2 points per game and shoot .432 from the field. They allow 73.4 ppg and its opponents shoot .489.

Head coach Phil Johnson rejoined the Spartan basketball program after spending two plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

UH's 24-game home winning streak was the fifth longest in the nation and was only two shy of the school record...the 'Bows had also won 21 straight home games against WAC opponents prior to the Spartan win last night!

The Spartans continue to frustrate opponents with their slow-down offense, but more often than not, it's San Jose State that leaves the arena frustrated this season.

The slow-down spread offense, in which out-manned San Jose State takes time off the clock to lessen the number of possessions in the game, has been in effect since late last month. Three of the past five opponents have scored 65 points or less.

While San Jose has achieved its short-term goal --staying in the game and having a chance to steal it late -- the Spartans have been able to win only one of those contests prior to the Hawaii win.

They led SMU 40-30 at halftime on Feb. 6 before wilting and losing 82-69. And the Spartans had a last-second shot to tie against Louisiana Tech, but Antonio Meeking blocked it ... and then, to add insult, the Bulldogs threw in a meaningless three-pointer from beyond half-court as time expired for the 65-60 win.

"We had Brett Lilly in the corner and Antonio Lawrence and Keith West inside to use their speed and quickness. Brandon Hawkins got in a jam. West got the ball, drove it to the basket and the big moose (Antonio Meeking) blocked it." -- Coach Phil Johnson, describing what happened on the final possession that could have tied the game against Louisiana Tech last week.

Prize recruit Antonio Lawrence is asserting himself more and more as the season goes on, giving San Jose State a glimmer of hope in what has been a frustrating season.

Lawrence, who signed with the Spartans after coach Phil Johnson was hired last spring, is filling up the box score nicely these days. The 6-4 swingman had 24 points and 13 rebounds vs. SMU on Feb. 6, and followed with another stellar performance.

He had 22 points against Louisiana Tech, getting 18 in the second half after being saddled with three first-half fouls. Lawrence's quickness and drives to the basket against Tech's powerful Antonio Meeking helped cause foul trouble for the Bulldogs star, who picked up his fourth foul with 8:25 left.

"That Lawrence is a nice player in this league," said Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard. "He has proven already that he belongs and can play in this league. We had to get Meeking off of him."

In the absence of the team's best player, Oudie Baker, who was dismissed last month, Lawrence has had to play a larger role. He has responded by upping his scoring average to 11.1 and his rebounding total to a team-best 6.3.

Now finally on to last nights big win over WAC foe, Hawaii!

HONOLULU - Keith West's running lay-up with :03.5 seconds remaining lifted San Jose State past Hawai'i, 55-54, Saturday night, in a Western Athletic Conference match-up at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Spartans (6-15, 3-9) snapped the Rainbow Warriors' 24-game home winning streak and took both games of the season series.

The game featured 17 ties and 13 lead changes. In the last minute, the lead changed sides four times until West's game-winner. San Jose State's Scott Sonnenburg hit two clutch 3-pointers in the final 1:35, including a rainbow with :15.9 left to put the Spartans ahead 53-52. UH's Mark Campbell hit two free throws with :11.6 remaining to give the 'Bows its final lead.

The 'Bows had one last chance to win the game but Campbell front-rimmed a 23-footer and his putback came just after the buzzer sounded. The win marked the Spartans' first road win this season and UH's first home loss in 13 chances this year.

The first half was a see-saw affair as the largest lead was just three. Nkeruwem Akpan's jumper with :46 remaining gave the 'Bows a 25-24 lead at the break.

Hawai'i used an 8-2 run at the start of the second half to take the game's largest lead at seven, 33-26, with 15:54 left. Over the next 7:49, the Spartans out-scored UH, 13-2, to take a 39-35 lead.

After Martin picked up consecutive fouls, a fastbreak offensive charge and an illegal pick, which fouled him out of the game, the 'Bows got tough. English made two free throws to pull UH to 41-39 and back-to-back baseline jumpers by Kuebler and Haim Shimonovich, gave the 'Bows a 43-41 lead with 5:34 left.

West answered with a lay-up to tie and Eric Walton's putback put SJSU ahead 45-43 with 3:55 remaining. After a media timeout, Shimonovich's jumper off an inbounds pass tied the game at 45. Walton answered again with another field goal in the lane but Akpan's lay-up from Kuebler tied it at 47.

Sonnenburg struck with his first trey to put the Spartans ahead 50-47. On UH's next possession, English drove the lane for his second bucket of the second half.

After SJSU failed to score on its ensuing possession, English found Campbell under the bucket for a lay-up plus the foul. Campbell converted the free throw for a 52-50 UH lead.

A few playes went by and it was UH 54 and SJSU 53, but then it was SJSU's Keith West making a running lay-up with :03.5 seconds remaining which lifted San Jose State past Hawai'i for the series sweep!

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