SJSU Drops One on the Road - 77-58 to USU

The San Jose State men's basketball team fought back from a first half deficit to tie the game before going into the halftime locker room down by three. However, a lackluster second half doomed the Spartans as Utah State ran away with a 77-58 win over SJSU in Logan, Utah.

Utah State started out the game hot and enjoyed a 10-point first half lead at one point. It would have been easy to panic at that point but San Jose State instead fought back and closed the gap. A Mac Peterson trey made it 29-all, it was again a tie at 34 apiece and then 36-up after a successful Justin Graham dribble-drive. Eventually, the Spartans trailed by three at the buzzer after a Graham three-pointer was waved off.

But the Aggies cranked it up again coming out in the second 20 minutes and SJSU couldn't respond, resulting in a 77-58 victory for USU. This even though C.J. Webster forced Utah State 'big' Tai Wesley into his third foul and a trip to the bench early in the second half.

At the 15-minute mark, San Jose State was again down by 10 -- tThe Spartans having gone through an 0-5 shooting stretch while the Aggies shot 4-5.

The lead went to 11, then 12 and then 13 with 11 minutes to go. At the nine-minute mark, the deficit was 16 and no longer closeable. The Spartans shot 21% in the second half, scoring just 22 points.

Adrian Oliver paced SJSU with 19 points (5-16) and Peterson contributed 11 (3-12 shooting) -- the total he had at the conclusion of the first half.

We wrote this about Nate Bendall in our game preview: "He's the replacement for Gary Wilkinson, smaller and certainly not as dominant at 7.9 ppg. and 3.7 rpg. -- he does shoot well from both the floor and foul line but needs setting up." Bendall led Utah State with 20 points (9-14), a goodly percentage on putbacks after offensive rebounds.

Brady Jardine totaled 17 (8-11 shooting) -- a season and career high for him. Pooh Williams added 14. Here is how we described him in the preview: "Always a worthy defender, he really helps the Aggies when his shot is on." Williams played the best defense this season on Oliver and also hit a trio of treys (3-6 from long range) -- yet he is inexplicably 18-36 at the foul line this season.

For the game, San Jose State shot 36%, 7-23 on treys and 13-15 from the foul line. Utah State shot 55%, went 9-18 on three-pointers and 4-5 at the charity stripe. The Aggies had a small lead in overall rebounding at 32-27. With turnovers, USU committed eight to seven for SJSU.

After the first 20 minutes, Peterson led San Jose State with the aforementioned 11 points while Oliver was just behind with 10. SJSU shot 13-24 overall, 5-11 from three-point range. Utah State went 15-31, 5-10 from long distance. The Aggies nabbed 16 boards, half on the offensive end to 11 for the Spartans. But the first five minutes of the second period un-did San Jose State.

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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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