San Jose State (9-17) at Louisiana Tech (13-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas Assembly Center (8,000) -- Ruston, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 6-6, LaTech 9-4. Away Record: SJSU 2-11, LaTech 3-9. Neutral Record: SJSU 1-0, LaTech 1-1. Conference Record: SJSU 1-9, LaTech 3-7. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 14-9.
GAME NOTES: The San Jose State Spartans again try to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since the end of December, as they clash with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Western Athletic Conference action at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, Louisiana.
SJSU, which has won consecutive games only once this season with victories over Coppin State and Seattle to close out the 2011 calendar year, has won a total of just three games since then. The latest triumph for the Spartans was a 79-67 decision against Sacramento State outside of conference play on Saturday, which means SJSU is still just 1-9 in the WAC and all alone in last place in the standings with this and three more league bouts remaining on the schedule.
As for the Bulldogs, they've been only slightly better than the Spartans in conference play, sporting three wins in 10 opportunities thus far. Last week, LaTech took on a pair of non-conference opponents and managed to put a couple of tallies in the win column with a 58-53 triumph over North Dakota and an 84-62 blowout of Central Arkansas last Saturday.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Bulldogs are ahead by a count of 14-9 and are searching for their first season sweep of San Jose State since the 2005-06 campaign. LaTech won the first meeting of the season back in January by a score of 71-67 in California.
James Kinney and Wil Carter both scored 19 points and Keith Shamburger added 15 more, to go along with his eight assists, as the Spartans registered the win over the Hornets on the road last Saturday. The team as a whole shot 53.1 percent from the floor, 8-of-18 beyond the arc and 19-of-21 at the free-throw line in one of their best offensive showings of the campaign. Kinney and Carter are the only players to have started every game for the Spartans this season, so it only makes sense that they are also two of the leading scorers as well with 16.4 and 12.5 ppg, respectively. In between them is Shamburger, who not only dials up another 13.8 ppg, but he is also first on the unit with 137 assists. Carter is the one who handles the action on the inside with his 8.4 rpg, but this is still a team that is being beaten on the glass by an average of more than four boards per contest.
The defense was front and center for the Bulldogs in their meeting with Central Arkansas last weekend, holding the visitors to a mere 34.9 percent shooting from the floor and 3-of-17 behind the three-point line, not to mention forcing 18 Bears turnovers as well. Playing just 23 minutes, Raheem Appleby finished with a team-high 18 points, followed by Cordarius Johnson with 16, Romario Souza 13 points and Michale Kyser 12 points in only 16 minutes for the hosts. Kenneth Smith was held to just two points, but he did contribute with a staggering 15 assists. The assist total by Smith broke the LaTech single-game record previously held by Bud Dean, who delivered 14 back in 1969 against Nicholls State. Smith doesn't get much publicity for the Bulldogs since he is mostly a reserve who averages a meager 3.4 ppg, but it is hard to overlook the fact that he has more than twice as many assists (115) as all but one of his teammates. Surely Appleby (14.0 ppg) has been a recipient of one of those dishes, the same going for Johnson (10.6 ppg) and Trevor Gaskins (10.2 ppg).
SJSU has been brutal on the road this season and the team's lack of success in the conference doesn't bode well for the final few weeks of the regular slate.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 68, San Jose State 61
02/23 10:35:28 ET