Photo credit: @SJSUMBB
By: Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State Spartans were hoping to snap a 10-game losing skid against the New Mexico Lobos at the Event Center Saturday afternoon. The Spartans haven’t won a conference game so far this season as they entered the matchup with a 0-10 record in the Mountain West.
Today’s Spartans vs. Lobos game was sponsored by The Barbers Inc, a barbershop based in downtown San Jose. Their barbers gave fans free haircuts as soon as the doors opened and throughout the game.
Before the first timeout of the game, the Lobos went on a 11-2 run in a span of 3:19 to open the game with a nine-point lead over the Spartans. Keith Fisher scored the Spartans’ lone layup for two points during that stretch.
At first, the Spartans fell behind, but they got back into the game with a 9-0 run to pull within four (21-17), thanks to Jaycee Hillsman’s jumper and pair of free throws and Ryan Welage’s 3-pointer and layup.
The Spartans had their chances as the Lobos didn’t score any field goals in five-plus minutes. San Jose State’s Jaycee Hillsman stole the show with a dunk, jumper, layup and a single free throw. New Mexico’s Antino Jackson ended the Lobos’ field goal slump with a layup with 4:27 left in the first.
However, Hillsman made a layup and Welage hit a three to give the Spartans a five-point advantage for a 31-26 lead with 3:35 left in the first.
The Spartans survived a close call late in the first. Nai Carlisle made a layup and Barry followed with two layups of his own. SJSU held onto a 35-31 lead for about a minute until Makuach Maluach hit a three to pull New Mexico within one. The back and forth action continued as Barry and Vance Jackson exchanged layups.
Spartans’ Jalen James closed out the first with a pair of free throws, and SJSU carried a 39-36 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Both teams exchanged shots to start the second half. Joe Furstinger made a layup, Isaiah Nichols made a free throw, Jackson hit a three and Barry made a layup. Prior to a media timeout, the Spartans led the Lobos 41-40 at the 15:54 mark of the second.
The Lobos led the Spartans 51-44 at the 12:17 mark. However, the Welage show aired as the junior forward made a pair of free throws and a layup to pull the Spartans within three (51-48) at the 10:27 mark.
The Spartan offense applied some pressure on the Lobos as Hillsman made a layup and then hit a game-tying three to tie the game 53-53 with 8:35 left in the second. As a result, Hillsman notched a double-double with a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartan cheer squad got the crowd pumping in the final minutes of the game by chanting “defense” chants, waving pom poms and throwing t-shirts to the loudest fans in the audience. All the positive energy appeared to help the Spartans.
After Welage knocked down a jumper to pull the Spartans within four (69-65), the home team took a timeout with 46.2 seconds left in the game. Carlisle’s layup and lone free throw pulled the Spartans within two (70-68) with 33 seconds left. Sam Logwood made the final free throw of the game with two seconds left.
The Spartans lost to the Lobos 71-68.
Spartans’ starting lineup: Keith Fisher, Noah Baumann, Jalen James, Ryan Welage and Ashtin Chastain.
Lobos’ starting lineup: Chris McNeal, Joe Furstinger, Makuach Maluach, Dane Kuiper and Anthony Mathis.
The Spartans travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, to take on the Rams on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm PT (2 pm MT).