San Jose State (2-4) vs. Portland (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 27, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: San Jose State 1-0, Portland 3-1. Away Record: San Jose State 1-2, Portland 0-2. Neutral Record: San Jose State 0-2, Portland 0-0. Conference Record: San Jose State 0-0, Portland 0-0. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 10-8
GAMES NOTES: In a non-conference tilt before the holiday weekend the San Jose State Spartans will match up with the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center on Wednesday night.
After a miserable 0-4 start to the season, the Spartans have finally begun to put it together with wins in each of their last two games. The most recent victory was a resounding one as San Jose State trampled Cal State Fullerton, 81-59, in their home opener. This contest begins a three-game road trip for San Jose State, which faces Weber State next.
This is the Pilots' first game after a four-game stint in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Portland hosted a subregional of the event at the Chiles Center and split its four decisions with losses to No. 1 Michigan State (82-67) and North Texas (77-72, in overtime) and victories over Idaho (88-74) and Columbia (69-52). Portland will next face Southern Utah at home.
San Jose State has won four of the last five meetings between these teams to pull ahead in the all-time series, 10-8. The most recent victory came in 2006 when the Spartans rolled to a 82-53 triumph.
The Spartans cashed in on a number of Cal State Fullerton mistakes and shot well from beyond the arc to top the Titans. San Jose State nailed 11 triples in the win and scored 18 points off of turnovers while coughing the ball up only five times.
The Spartans are an intriguing offensive team as their best scorer starts the game on the bench. Rashad Muhammad (15.3 ppg) is one of only two double figure scorers on the roster. Even though Muhammad is playing 29.5 minutes per game he has done so exclusively as a reserve. The 6-foot-6 freshman finished with 17 points against Cal State Fullerton, tying with fellow reserve D.J. Brown for the team-high. Jaleel Williams (13.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is the main focus of the offense among the starting lineup. Williams struggled against the Titans with six points on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor.
It actually took two overtime periods for Portland and North Texas to settle their differences. The wheels finally came off for the Pilots in the second extra session as they allowed a 9-4 run over the final 2:49 to succumb to the loss. Portland lost despite a massive, 56-39, edge on the boards.
Ryan Nicholas (15.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Thomas van der Mars (12.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) were able to find success on the inside in the loss to North Texas as they have for most of the young season. Nicholas posted a 15-point, 16-rebound double-double in the loss, while van der Mars tacked on 21 points and 11 rebounds. The frontcourt duo are not great rim protectors, but are productive in scoring in rebounding. Swingman Kevin Bailey (14.8 ppg) is the more versatile scorer on the roster. Bailey struggled to find his shot against North Texas. Despite netting 15 points, he made good on only 5-of-16 shots from the field. Bobby Sharp (10.5 ppg) provides a spark with his 3-point shooting off the bench.
In a contest between two teams still trying to find their identity this season, playing at home may be enough of an advantage for the Pilots.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland 78, San Jose State 72
11/27 10:40:54 ET