San Jose State (7-21) at Colorado State (15-14)
GAME NOTES: Colorado State tries to remain perfect in the all-time series with the San Jose State Spartans, as the Rams host a Mountain West Conference showdown at Moby Arena tonight.
In a relationship that dates back to 1969 and now has new life with SJSU moving over to the MWC from the Western Athletic Conference, the Rams have won all seven previous encounters. Two months ago at The Event Center in California, CSU pulled off a narrow 66-64 win.
For the Rams, that particular victory was the first in league play in 2013-14 and since then the team has added five more MWC wins, leaving them eighth in the MWC standings heading into play tonight. Out of action since this time last week, CSU was defeated by UNLV on the road at the Thomas & Mack Center, 78-70, marking the squad's fourth setback in the last five outings.
As for the Spartans, they endured a 13-game skid to begin the league slate, but finally broke through with a 66-64 road victory against Nevada a couple weeks ago. However, since then SJSU has added defeats against San Diego State and, most recently last Saturday, a 75-58 loss to Utah State at home. Needless to say, at 1-15 in conference the Spartans are all alone in last place in the standings.
San Jose State had four players score in double figures against visiting Utah State over the weekend, but even that was not enough to keep the Spartans engaged. The team converted a mere 29.6 percent from the floor and 6-of-26 behind the 3-point line over 40 minutes, led by D.J. Brown who tallied 15 points off the bench. Starter Jaleel Williams accounted for 11 points, while Chris Cunningham and Jalen James tacked on 10 points apiece.
Shooting only 1-of-8 from the floor and posting a mere five points in the loss to the Aggies, Rashad Muhammad had one of his weaker efforts of the season coming off the bench for SJSU. However, he is still the leading scorer for the Spartans in conference play with 10.3 ppg, although that really isn't saying much. He is shooting a feeble 32.4 percent from the floor and the team 35.7 percent, resulting in a mere 55.8 ppg which is close to 15 ppg behind the rest of the MWC.
For the most part, the Rams were playing catch-up against UNLV last week and were never able to really make it a close game, although they did hold the Runnin' Rebels to just 1-of-13 shooting from 3-point range in the second half. J.J. Avila led the offense with a game-high 22 points and also cleared eight rebounds, followed by Daniel Bejarano with 21 points and eight boards. Before fouling out, Jon Octeus responded with 17 points and six rebounds, which means the rest of the roster combined for only 10 points.
Avila is the leading scorer on the season overall with his 16.8 ppg, but in league action the honor goes to Bejarano who, despite playing only a handful of minutes in one game in which he was benched, is producing 19.0 ppg. Avila drops to 14.5 ppg in conference, but at least he maintains a solid presence in the paint with 8.3 rpg and combines with Bejarano to hand out 101 of the unit's 182 assists.
Unless the Spartans have a secret weapon they've been hiding this season, the chances of them taking out Colorado State on the road this late in the campaign are slim to none.
GAME NOTES: Colorado State tries to remain perfect in the all-time series with
the San Jose State Spartans, as the Rams host a Mountain West Conference
showdown at Moby Arena tonight.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado.
Television: MWN. Home Record: SJSU 4-8, CSU 13-6. Away Record: SJSU 3-11, CSU
2-8. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-2, CSU 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 1-15, CSU
6-10. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 7-0.Game Date and Time
Wednesday, March 5, 9 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Colorado State 72, San Jose State 64