GAME NOTES: The one team in the Mountain West Conference still waiting to break through into the win column in league play gives it another go tonight, as the San Jose State Spartans pay a visit to the Air Force Falcons at Clune Arena.
San Jose State has come up empty in all four league bouts thus far and is also winless in 2014. The last victory for the team in any form was an 87-59 thrashing of Pacific on Dec. 28, and a week earlier the team defeated little- known Westminster. When it comes to posting a win over another Division I opponent, that hasn't happened for SJSU since a triple-overtime event versus UC Davis on Dec. 18.
Most recently, the Spartans went up against New Mexico over the weekend and fell short in a 69-65 final.
As for the Falcons, they kicked off their league slate with back-to-back wins over Utah State and UNLV rather surprisingly, but the team has come back to the pack with a loss at Fresno State and a 79-72 setback to nationally-ranked San Diego State at home on Sunday.
The good news for the Spartans is that they have never lost to the Academy, winning all three previous encounters, two of which have taken place in Colorado. However, this is the first meeting since SJSU posted an 88-77 victory back in 1997.
Despite converting just nine field goals in the first half against New Mexico, the Spartans still made things interesting over the weekend as they came close to knocking off the Lobos. Jaleel Williams scored a game-high 24 points as he converted 6-of-10 shots behind the 3-point line, although the rest of his teammates combined to make just 5-of-22 on the perimeter. Rashad Muhammad came off the bench to chip in 16 points and reserve Isaac Thornton tacked on a game-high 11 rebounds.
Muhammad, who has started just one of the 16 games this season for the Spartans, leads the program in scoring with 17.3 ppg as he converts 46.8 percent of his 3-point tries. Shooting better on the outside than he is from the floor overall (.430), Muhammad could stand to be a little more unselfish from time to time, given that he has but 11 assists in close to 500 minutes of action. Williams checks in with 12.4 ppg and he too seems to be immune to involving teammates, logging only 14 dishes.
Against the Aztecs, Air Force figured to have a tough time on Sunday, even at home in Clune Arena, yet the Falcons didn't back down and lost by just seven to one of the top programs in the country. Tre' Coggins erupted for a game- high 29 points, shooting 5-of-10 behind the 3-point line and 11-of-18 from the floor overall, while Kamryn Williams and Max Yon posted 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Coggins has been a welcomed surprise for the Falcons, leading the group with 17.8 ppg as he shoots not only 50.3 percent from the floor but also 45.6 percent beyond the arc. Add in Yon (13.9 ppg), who is tied with Coggins for the team lead with 41 assists, and Marek Olesinski (11.9 ppg) and you have a trio who have combined for 83 of the program's 115 3-point baskets. Perhaps most surprising about the Falcons this season is their insistence on not being beaten up on the glass. In fact, Air Force currently leads opponents in that department with a 1.4 rpg advantage.
Because the major scorers on the Spartans rarely involve teammates, there's little chance the visitors can find a way to scrape together enough points to come out on top against the Falcons tonight.
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