It took an extra three periods, 15 minutes and a lot of work, including more than a few come backs, but the San Jose State men’s basketball was able to fend off a strong challenge from UC Davis for its second straight win and fourth this season, 89-85, on Wednesday night.
This piggybacked off the women’s basketball team snapping its four-game losing streak by outshooting Georgia State, 95-81.
UC Davis, San Jose State trade comebacks
Rashad Muhammad led the Spartans with 28 points, with Devante Wilson pitching in 22. The Spartans scoring was largely concentrated in Wilson and Muhammad, with Chris Cunningham (13) and Isaac Thornton (12) the only other two Spartans in double figures. In contrast, UC Davis had all five starters in double figures and an additional player off the bench, but had no one reach 20 points for the game.
What’s striking about the game is how many blown leads were in the game.
San Jose State led late in each of the first two overtimes before UC Davis got opportunities at the free throw line to first tie, then take the lead. Both times, they missed the opportunity to take the lead by hitting just one of two from the charity stripe.
San Jose State also had to overcome a 19 point Aggies lead at one point, also, meaning this game should never have reached overtime if UC Davis wasn’t, you know, 3-9 and prone to blowing it.
It was a sloppy game all around. Cunningham and Jalen James were both limited in minutes by foul trouble, with each eventually fouling out. San Jose State had another four players with four fouls at the end of the game, including Muhammad and Thornton. If this game had gone to an additional overtime, UC Davis likely would have gained an advantage by just being deeper.
San Jose State is moving the ball better than they were at the start of the season. They had 19 assists as a team Wednesday night, with James pitching five and Thornton dishing out six. The players seem to be finding a rapport with each other, and figuring out where the ball needs to go in crunch time, and how things are going to work on offense.
A win is a win, especially considering the bloodbath the conference season is likely to be.
SJSU women end losing streak by making tons of 3-pointers
14 3-pointers. 42 points. 50 percent from behind the arc.
That’s how you win ballgames if you’re the San Jose State women, who lit up Georgia State from 3-point range on Wednesday. Rachel Woodberry had half of those shots from long range, going 7 for 11 and tying Ta’Rea Cunnigan for most points on the team with 25.
Georgia State and the Spartans were tied at 49 going into the intermission. San Jose State proceeded to blow them away by shooting over 50 percent from 3-point range and taking advantage of the Panthers going absolutely cold from the field (13 for 43 overall, 2 for 12 from 3-point range in the second half.)
Some thoughts on this team 10 games in:
- A 3-to-2 ratio team: They rely on trading scores with opponents and never going away. Some teams can put up mediocre shooting nights and rely on grabbing rebounds to get multiple chances and making defensive stops; that doesn’t seem to be the Spartans style this season. This is a team that isn’t going to get many defensive stops; rather, they are relying on getting at least 2 points for every 2 their opponent gets, and preferably 3, as was the case often against Georgia State on Wednesday. The Spartans are essentially cutting defense out of the equation, or at least minimizing it.
- 100 points or under 37 percent shooting: One of two things happens when the Spartans lose, and even both sometimes: Their opponent reaches 100 points, or they shoot under 37 percent for the game. Four times in defeat they’ve shot under that bench mark, and it meant that the Spartans couldn’t keep pace with their opponents. Three opponents have also dropped 100 on the Spartans, too. The defense at times can be charitably described as porous, though not entirely of the fault of the players or coaches.
- Being shorthanded is the root of all problems: Is is effecting the defensive side most for the Spartans, as they have yet to hold a D-I opponent to under 79 points. At most, the team has been suiting up eight players (as they did on the road at Baylor); it’s been a luxury to see nine players on the bench this season. Key components from last season — Emily Schill and Chereese Thomas — have not even dressed this season, and Jayzyl Tauala has played sparingly. San Jose State Athletics has attributed this problem to injuries, but one has to wonder if transfers also are playing a role here with a new coach coming in on the eve of the season.
- We are finding out what the freshmen are capable of: The Spartans have featured four freshmen this season — Rachol West, Britta Hall, Jasmine Smith and Paris Baird. West has been a good sixth woman, while Smith and Hall have had stints in the starting lineup. Smith is a rebound machine who is capable of dominating games, and Hall is an able at controlling the ball. Odds are, they would never have seen the floor in the kind of minutes they are seeing if the roster was not shorthanded.
The men and women play another doubleheader on Saturday. The men open with a cupcake in NAIA Westminster (Utah) at noon, while the women play at 2 p.m. against Missouri-Kansas City at the Event Center.