WAC TOURNAMENT PROMOTION!

It's tournament time for your San Jose State Spartans! Look for the Spartans to make a serious run at the WAC tournament title in Tulsa, Oklahoma! (Also included is this AM's Mercury News story on Coach Phil Johnson headlined as "SJSU takes lessons from tough season").

WAC TOURNAMENT PROMO!

FANS,

NEXT WEEK BOTH THE SPARTAN MEN AND WOMEN WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN THE WILLIAMS WAC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT IN TULSA.

COME SUPPORT THE SPARTANS IN BUYING ALL-SESSION TOURNAMENT PASSES THROUGH THE SPARTAN ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE.

STOP BY THE TICKET TABLES LOCATED AT THE LOWER ENTRANCE TO THE EVENT CENTER BEFORE HALFTIME OF TONIGHT'S GAME TO BUY YOUR ALL-SESSION PASSES FOR THE LOW PRICE OF JUST $175.

THESE ALL-SESSION PASSES WILL REMAIN FOR SALE THROUGH MONDAY MORNING AND YOU CAN PLACE YOUR ORDER BY CALLING THE SPARTAN TICKET OFFICE AT (408) 924-SJTX.

COME SUPPORT THE SPARTANS AT THE WILLIAMS WAC BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT NEXT WEEK IN TULSA!

Darren E. Coelho- Athletic Ticket Manager for your San Jose State University Spartans!

One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0062

(*) The Spartans designated hotel for the tournament is at the Adams Mark Hotel.

100 E. 2nd Street, Tulsa, OK 74103

Call ahead to make room reservations at: (918) 582-9000.

BAY AREA NOTEBOOK

SJSU takes lessons from tough season

By Jon Wilner- Mercury News

For an explanation of what ails San Jose State, look down the roster. But for solace, Spartans fans might want to look up and back: up the freeway and back 10 years.

In 1992-93, Stanford endured the worst season of Mike Montgomery's tenure -- a frustrating, outmanned, injury-plagued, seven-win, last-place season. But the lessons learned that winter -- at no point did Montgomery stop holding players accountable or shift into cruise control -- would serve the Cardinal well the following season. Its roster restored, Stanford won 17 games and vaulted to fifth in the conference.

That, it seems, should be the model for San Jose State Coach Phil Johnson, whose team is slogging through a 6-19 season: Keep the energy high, the frustration low and hope the lessons carry over to next season.

``You look for leaders to emerge, but then at some point you realize you have to be the leader,'' Johnson said Wednesday as he prepared the Spartans for their home weekend against Texas-El Paso and Boise State. ``When you don't win, your job is to keep the team together, keep it in a positive state of mind.''

It hasn't been easy for Johnson, who is in the first season of his second stint with the Spartans.

San Jose State's best player, Oudie Baker, quit during the holidays.

Its second-best player, Antonio Lawrence, is not expected to play this weekend because of a sprained ankle. (He might not be ready for the Western Athletic Conference tournament, which starts next week.)

And guard Keith West did not accompany the team to Rice and Tulsa last week because of personal reasons. (He is expected to play tonight.)

Without them, an undersized roster has become an undersized, outmanned roster.

``I've counted six games in which we were in a position to win in the last six minutes,'' Johnson said. ``We haven't finished games well . . . and that happens to teams that can't get over the hump. . . .

``It's been a fight to match up on the front line. We're playing short-handed, but we still have a purpose.''

And that is the brightest light in this dark season.

• The WAC will hold a conference call this morning to announce its plans for a tournament without Fresno State. (The first-place Bulldogs have been banned from postseason play because of academic fraud, leaving nine eligible teams.)

The most likely scenario is for the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds to participate in a play-in game early next week. If that's the case, the Spartans will face Texas-El Paso regardless of the outcome of this weekend's games.

• Jim Howell, who averaged 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in the final five games, was Santa Clara's only All-West Coast Conference selection, making honorable mention. It's the first time in nine years the Broncos haven't produced a first-team all-conference player.

• Broncos guard Brandon Rohe surpassed Steve Nash's freshman records for three-pointers made (50) and attempted (140).

• The Santa Clara women extended their WCC record of top-three finishes to 13 consecutive years. No other program has finished in the top three more than six consecutive years.

• The Stanford women are 0-3 at HP Pavilion, site of this weekend's Pacific-10 Conference tournament. The Cardinal lost to Tennessee in 1997-98 and to Duke and Arkansas in 1998-99. But Stanford caught a break with the seeds: Its regular-season conquerors (Arizona, Washington, USC) are on the other side of the bracket.


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