San Jose State (9-16) at Texas-Arlington (15-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: College Park Center (7,000) -- Arlington, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 5-8, UTA 5-7. Away Record: SJSU 4-7, UTA 10-3. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-1, UTA 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 3-11, UTA 9-5. Series Record: Texas-Arlington leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Losers of 10 in a row, the San Jose State Spartans have had plenty of time to ponder their particular dilemma before heading back to the hardwood to compete against the Mavericks of Texas-Arlington in Western Athletic Conference action.
San Jose State, which last picked up a victory on Jan. 8 in a 71-64 final versus New Orleans, hasn't played at all since bowing to Denver (62-41) back on Feb. 16. The squad came into this week tied for seventh in the WAC standings with Texas State at 3-11, but among the programs that are not new to the league this season, SJSU has the worst record.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks find themselves in the top half of the WAC standings with a 9-5 mark, tying them with Utah State for fourth place. The last two games for UTA have been outside of conference play, first taking down Texas- Pan American on Feb. 20 by a 63-48 score, and then bowing to UC Irvine over the weekend, 77-70. The setback to the Anteaters snapped a five-game win streak by UTA.
The Mavericks lit up San Jose State in the first-ever meeting between the two schools by a score of 66-47 at the Event Center last month.
At this point, the last game for the Spartans is a distant memory, but it is still important to recall the squad's lackluster performance versus Denver for the second time this season. After scoring a meager 37 points in the first matchup, SJSU had a bit of a better showing this time around with 41 points, but the outcome was still a blowout loss. The hosts didn't have a single player score in double figures and had far more turnovers (18) than field goals (13). LaVanne Pennington came up with eight points and Chris Cunningham seven to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Since the Spartans suspended James Kinney for the remainder of the season just weeks into the conference schedule, the team has spiraled out of control. SJSU is scoring a mere 55.6 ppg in league play, but that still takes into account the 19.3 ppg that Kinney was putting up before being taken out. Cunningham is the only active double-digit scorer for the Spartans in conference play with his 10.6 ppg, adding 9.0 rpg, but it has made little difference in the end.
Despite shooting only 29.4 percent from the field in the first half against UC Irvine last weekend, the Mavericks were still hanging around at the break, trailing by just five points. However, in the second half the defense for the hosts watched the Anteaters connect on a staggering 66.7 percent from the floor in order to remain in control and grab the seven-point win. Jamel Outler delivered a game-high 21 points for the Mavs, shooting 4-of-9 beyond the arc, while Brandon Edwards recorded a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds in the losing cause.
Kevin Butler, who finished with only eight points while dealing with foul trouble versus the Anteaters, remains the only double-digit scorer for the program with his 11.8 ppg in league action. Jordan Reves, who was also held in-check by UCI, is second in scoring with 8.7 ppg and first with 8.7 rpg on the season, but those numbers dip slightly in league play. Nevertheless, UTA is still outscoring conference foes by more than three points and topping them on the glass by more than three rebounds per outing as well.
One of the better defensive teams in the WAC, the Mavericks may not be able to lock down like Denver, but you better believe they think they can keep the Spartans under 50 points in this clash.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 66, San Jose State 52
02/28 10:33:43 ET