GAME NOTES: The 100th all-time meeting between a pair of former Western Athletic Conference foes is set to take place tonight at the Lawlor Events Center, as the Nevada Wolf Pack and San Jose State Spartans collide as members of the Mountain West Conference.
The Spartans have been spinning wildly out of control for much of the season, particularly since the conference schedule began. One of the newest additions to the MWC, SJSU has yet to defeat another league member in 13 opportunities. The last win of any kind for the Spartans was an 87-59 thumping of Pacifica on Dec. 28, but the last win against a Division I foe was 10 days earlier versus UC Davis (89-85) in three overtimes.
Over the weekend, the Spartans scored a mere nine points in the second half of a 46-38 loss to Wyoming at home. The nine points scored in the half were the second-lowest total in school history, but the overall total of 38 was still better than the 36 points tallied in a game just last season.
Meanwhile, Nevada has hit a rough spot in the schedule and has dropped four straight decisions. The team was taken down by New Mexico in The Pit over the weekend, 90-72, which means the Pack is now 7-6 in conference play and that has them sitting in fifth place.
The Wolf Pack kicked off the new calendar year on Jan. 1 with a trip to San Jose where they took down the Spartans in a 62-50 final. With the victory, Nevada is now ahead in the all-time series by a count of 52-47, claiming wins in 12 straight matchups. The last win for SJSU took place in 2007-08 by a mere two points at home, 62-60.
Converting only nine field goals in the first half against a tenacious Wyoming defense wasn't unusual for the Spartans because they still led by three at the break. However, the second half was a different story as the team made just 4- of-20 from the floor and a dismal 1-of-10 behind the 3-point line, without the benefit of a single trip to the free-throw line. Chris Cunningham registered a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while Isaac Thornton posted 14 points in the loss.
The leading scorer on the season for the Spartans has been Rashad Muhammad with his 13.7 ppg, but he lasted just four minutes and missed his only field goal attempt in the loss to Wyoming. Muhammad, who has started just once in 25 contests, is shooting only 37.9 percent from the floor, but while that sounds less than acceptable, it should be noted the team as a whole is converting just 37.7 percent from the floor while scoring 63.0 ppg.
Cole Huff and Michael Perez both tallied 18 points for the Wolf Pack, combining to shoot 13-of-27 from the floor, but that means the rest of the unit combined to make a total of just 14 field goals in the lopsided loss to New Mexico in The Pit. Deonte Burton, who continues to inch his way up the all-time scoring list at Nevada, tallied just 12 points, but did hand out eight assists in defeat.
Burton is now putting up 20.1 ppg on the season for the Pack, shooting a solid 46.9 percent from the field and 72.3 percent at the free-throw line, but there are some games where his performances are just not up to his own lofty standards and those tend to be the outings where Nevada struggles the most. Jerry Evans Jr. accounts for 13.2 ppg and is second on the unit with 6.1 rpg, but even by accident he should have more than only 16 assists in 25 games based on how often he has his hands on the ball.
The Spartans are desperate to find a lineup combination that could possibly lead them to a long-overdue win, but all of those experiments continue to be met with futility and that figures to be the case yet again tonight.
Game Date and Time