FACTS & STATS: Site: Strahan Coliseum (7,200) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 3-2, Texas State 3-3. Away Record: SJSU 2-2, Texas State 0-3. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-1, Texas State 1-2. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, Texas State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats are set to open their Western Athletic Conference schedule, as they host the San Jose State Spartans at Strahan Coliseum.
Texas State, a member of the Southland Conference last season, is playing its first-ever conference game as a new member of the WAC. This marks the first time these two programs have ever squared off on the hardwood.
Texas State has lost three straight and five of its last six games overall. The Bobcats have been idle since a 92-80 setback at Central Michigan on Dec. 20. They'll stick around campus to host Utah State on Monday.
The Spartans have followed up a three-game winning streak by losing each of their last two contests. Their most recent outing resulted in a 77-68 setback to James Madison last Saturday in the Vegas Holiday Hoops event. Following this tilt, they'll play at UTSA on Monday.
SJSU shot just 38.6 percent from the floor against James Madison, and that included a 4-of-15 effort from beyond the arc. After taking a 34-24 lead into the half and then going up by 13 on D.J. Brown's 3-pointer to open the second half, the Spartans watched their lead crumble in a big way. JMU shot a ridiculous 78.3 percent from the floor in the second half, including a perfect 7-of-7 effort from the perimeter to outscore the Spartans by 19 over the final 20 minutes. It was a stark contract from a first half that saw JMU held to 25.8-percent shooting from the floor and 2-of-14 from long range. Making his first start of the season, LaVanne Pennington paced SJSU with 16 points in the loss, while Brown finished with 15 points and eight assists. The Spartans were without James Kinney, the WAC's leading scorer (22.6 ppg), who was suspended for a violation of team rules. Brown (10.8 ppg) is the team's only other player averaging double figures, as SJSU struggled to generate easy buckets.
Texas State distributes things a bit more evenly on the offensive end, as six different players are averaging at least 7.5 ppg. Matt Staff leads the way with 15.8 ppg to go along with 6.1 rebounds. He has connected on 50.7 percent of his field-goal attempts while shooting a healthy 42.5 percent from the perimeter (17-of-40). Joel Wright is right on his heels with 15.4 ppg, and he leads the team with 6.7 rebounds per contest. In their latest outing, the Bobcats shot 50.8 percent from the floor playing in unfamiliar confines, but CMU shot an even better 53.7 percent and knocked down 11-of-24 threes. The Bobcats also committed 17 turnovers, which led to 27 points for an opportunistic Chippewas squad. Wright finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Staff scored 18 in the loss.
The Spartans could really use their top scorer back in the lineup for this one. Still, even with Kinney on the floor, they could face some issues matching up against the up-tempo Bobcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 79, San Jose State 73
12/29 10:35:55 ET
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