Oliver and Spartans Take Down La Tech 87-76

Basketball games generally have ebbs and flows with team taking turns at making splashes. Tonight it was all flowing for San Jose State versus too many ebbs for visiting Louisiana Tech and the Spartans won 87-76.

Adrian Oliver's 39 points (12-19 shooting, 12-12 at the foul line, 3-5 from long distance) paved the way. Chris Oakes added 16.

Bulldog Kyle Gibson totaled 22 points, 20 of those in the second half. Olu Ashaolu just missed a double-double with 19 points and eight boards.

San Jose State shot 55% from the floor, 7-15 on treys and 24-28 from the foul line. In contrast, LT shot 45% but had just 12 free throws, making eight. Coach Kerry Rupp's squad went 10-22 from downtown with Gibson leading the way at 4-8.

Foul trouble plagued Gibson -- who collected No. 5 late in the game after getting No. 4 with 14:58 on the clock -- and also Magnum Rolle, allowing the pair to be on the court for just 24 and 28 minutes respectively.

The Bulldogs had more offensive than defensive boards at 14 to 11, attributable to SJSU's sharp shooting and the strengths of Rolle and Ashaolu.

The Spartans led 41-31 at the half and also out-scored Tech 46-45 in the second 20 minutes.

Entering the game, Louisiana Tech was scoring 79 points per game and allowing just 67 versus WAC opponents -- so they almost matched their usual point production but were +20 points defensively.

SJSU entered the match producing 72 points per conference game while giving up 79, a plus of 15 points offensively and allowing three less than usual on defense.

The Bulldogs also entered the game allowing opponents to shoot just 42% overall yet the Spartans manage to connect on the aforementioned 55%.

There was a stretch in the first 20 minutes between the 6:00 and the 4:25 marks where it was all Oliver. He stole a pass on the press and scored via a driving layup. Another steal produced two AO foul shots and a second steal did the same. Finally, Oliver nailed a three-pointer.

What was readily apparent was how critical Gibson is to the Bulldog offense. When Gibson was sitting due to foul trouble in the first half, Louisiana Tech's offense looked dysfunctional. There was no one on the court to dribble-drive and break down defenses.

C.J. Webster missed the game for SJSU with an eye injury.

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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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