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San Jose State (6-16) at Fresno State (10-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Save Mart Center (15,596) -- Fresno, California. Television: MWN. Home Record: SJSU 4-5, FSU 8-4. Away Record: SJSU 2-9, FSU 2-8. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-2, FSU 0-1. Conference Record: SJSU 0-10, FSU 3-7. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 79-75.
GAME NOTES: Two of the weakest teams in the Mountain West Conference get together at the Save Mart Center on Saturday, as the Fresno State Bulldogs entertain the despondent San Jose State Spartans.
The Spartans have been out of action since last weekend when they dropped a devastating 72-47 decision to New Mexico on the road. The setback was the 10th in a row for a program that is still winless in MWC play (0-10) and has not defeated another school from the Division I level since slipping by UC Davis in triple-overtime (89-85) Dec. 18.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are hoping to capitalize on their strong play just three nights ago when they took out the Air Force Falcons in a convincing 68-51 final at Clune Arena. The victory was the second in a row for Fresno State, but still the team is barely ahead of the Spartans in the standings, sporting a mark of 3-7 at the moment.
FSU leads the all-time series between the in-state rivals by a 79-75 margin, with the programs alternating wins over the last seven encounters between 2009-12.
Tyler Johnson scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Bulldogs claimed the 17-point win over Air Force in conference action in Colorado on Wednesday night. Cezar Guerrero accounted for 18 points for the Bulldogs, followed by Marvelle Harris with 12 points, eight boards and four steals as the team logged a total of 13 thefts and forced the Falcons into 20 turnovers altogether. The defense also limited the hosts to just 38.3 percent shooting from the floor and eight offensive rebounds.
The leading scorer in eight of the last nine games for the Bulldogs, Johnson is making himself right at home as a primary offensive option for the program with his 15.9 ppg. But more than just a scorer, Johnson is also first on the glass with 7.2 rpg and one of the better passers on the unit with 57 assists through 19 of the team's 23 contests. Harris checks in with 14.6 ppg and Guerrero another 13.8 ppg, the latter also stretching defenses with his team- best 95 dishes.
The Spartans didn't stand much of a chance against New Mexico last weekend, especially when you consider they were trying to upset one of the top teams in the MWC on the road no less. Shooting a mere 34.1 percent from the floor and coming away with almost as many turnovers (14) as field goals (15), SJSU was lucky to have even a pair of double-digit scorers as Rashad Muhammad and Jalen James chipped in with 15 and 11 points, respectively, the latter adding seven rebounds but having those almost completely nullified with six turnovers.
Muhammad, a starter in just one game this season, is actually the top offensive threat currently for the Spartans with his 14.7 ppg. He is shooting a solid 41.8 percent behind the 3-point line and 84.6 percent at the charity stripe, but his 39.3 percent effort from the floor overall leaves a lot to be desired. Jaleel Williams accounts for another 11.3 ppg and is one of the better rebounders with close to six per game, but between he and Muhammad they've distributed just 35 total assists.
Playing in conference is tough enough for the Spartans, but doing so on the road adds to the level of difficulty for a squad that will probably still be winless against the rest of the MWC as the next week rolls around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 66, San Jose State 59
02/08 10:19:59 ET
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