San Jose State (9-7) at Denver (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 5-3, Denver 6-2. Away Record: SJSU 4-3, Denver 3-5. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-1, Denver 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 3-2, Denver 5-1. Series Record: Denver leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Despite being one of the newest additions to the Western Athletic Conference, the Denver Pioneers have gotten off to a fast start as they seek their sixth league win in seven tries on Thursday night when they host the San Jose State Spartans at Magness Arena.
Sporting a record of 6-2 at home thus far Denver, which came over from the Sun Belt Conference, has rattled off five straight victories and six in the last seven outings overall. Last Saturday, the team dismissed Seattle rather easily in a 64-51 final on the road.
As for the Spartans, they have the same overall record as Denver after 16 games at 9-7, but in their case they are 3-2 in league play after bowing to Utah State, 66-60, in the most recent contest last Friday night in Logan. The defeat snapped a brief two-game win streak for SJSU which is now 4-3 in true road games in 2012-13.
The Pioneers lead the all-time series between the squads by a 2-0 margin.
D.J. Brown was one of three Spartans to score in double figures the last time out, hitting for a team-best 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the floor as the squad nearly knocked off high-flying Utah State which has one of the longest win streaks in the country right now. Chris Cunningham added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Xavier Jones kicked in another 14 points as the team shot only 35.9 percent from the floor and a disappointing 2-of-11 behind the 3-point line. Part of the problem for the Spartans was that leading scorer James Kinney (20.6 ppg) had been suspended, which means the team had to make up for a huge chunk of lost offense. Kinney doesn't figure to see action again on Thursday, which leaves Cunningham as the top active scorer for the group with his 11.0 ppg.
Denver scored the first points of the game against the Redhawks last Saturday afternoon and never looked back, building an advantage as great as 19 points in the middle of the first half before shifting into cruise control. Then again, the Pioneers might be concerned about how they closed out that meeting because they went from shooting 55.2 percent from the floor in the first half to only 6-of-19 (.316) after the break which could have proven costly if Seattle could have managed any semblance of a comeback. Chase Hallam led the way for the visitors with 17 points, Chris Udofia 15 and six assists, followed by Jalen Love with 11 points. Royce O'Neale came up a point shy of a double- double as he cleared a game-high 10 rebounds. Through six conference games, the Denver defense has been rather stout, holding foes to just 51.0 ppg, while Hallam (11,7 ppg) and Udofia (10.8 ppg) handle the offense for the Pioneers.
Without Kinney in the lineup the Spartans are seriously hampering their chances for victory, but that's a lesson that the entire team must learn apparently.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 63, San Jose State 54
01/17 10:33:22 ET