San Jose State opens up conference play Wednesday vs. Fresno State

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State men’s basketball concluded their nonconference portion of the schedule with a lowly 3-9 record. The Spartans now turn their attention to Mountain West teams for conference play, starting this Wednesday against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Justin Allegri will have the play-by-play call for the Mountain West Network and KLIV 1590 AM.

Here’s what you need to know before Wednesday’s rivalry game:

Game #13
Fresno State (9-3) at San Jose State (3-9)
Wednesday, January 2 at 7:00 pm PT
Event Center (5,000)
San Jose, Calif.

Live Stats
Fans can view live stats of all the San Jose State men’s basketball games, home and away, by accessing the “Live Stats” feature at www.sjsuspartans.com. Click on the link on the men’s basketball schedule page to follow the action.

What would a Spartans’ win mean?
SJSU is 0-5 in conference openers since joining the league prior to the 2013-14 season. Two of those losses were at the hands of Nevada while the other three were against Utah State, including last season in a 86-72 loss in Logan, Utah. A win would also be the fourth of the season, tying last season’s overall total.

On the other had, Fresno State has a 1-5 record in MW openers.

Peace out, 2018! 
After two close and promising losses at Stanford and Cal, the Spartans closed out the nonconference slate on a bitter note as they were held to a season-low 45 points in a 75-45 loss at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, Calif. SJSU finished the nonconference slate 3-9.

Sharpest shooter in the west (and nation)
Sophomore Noah Baumann ranks second in the nation in three-point FG percentage. He is touting a 56.6% clip on 30-of-53 shooting. He is also averaging 2.5 3’s per game, which ranks in the top-10 in the MW.

Baumann is averaging 14.8 points per game in the last five games and is touting a gaudy 60% clip from 3-point range (18-30).

Steady Steadman
JUCO transfer Michael Steadman has made a big impact this season as a leader on and off the court. The 6’10″ forward is averaging a team-high 13.4 points per game and ranks fourth in the MW with 9.2 rebounds per game. He also ranks 42nd nationally in rebounds per game and 39th in defensive rebounds per game. He has 5 double-doubles on the season, ranking third in the MW and has scored in double figures in 11-of-12 games, including 10 straight.

Staff shakeup
Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau made some changes to his staff in the offseason as he brought in former NC State All-American Julius Hodge as an assistant coach and promoted director of operations Ryan Cooper to assistant coach.

Oh my, Oumar! 
Senior center Oumar Barry is playing his best basketball as a Spartan as of late. Against Bethune-Cookman, he finished with a then-career-high 13 points and 7 rebounds. He followed that up with his most dominating performance at SJSU as he recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, his first-career game with double digit rebounds. Barry also blocked 2 shots and was 7-of-10 at the free throw line to help the Spartans to a win.

Barry followed up with another double-double against Stanford (15 points, 10 rebound). After playing 38 career games without recording a double-double, he now has 2 in the last 4 games.

Barry then scored a career-high 18 points before fouling out with 4:36 to play at Cal and led the team with 11 points at Saint Mary’s. In his last 5 games, he leads the team with 14.8 points per game and is averaging 7.6 rebounds.

Longstanding rivalry
The longstanding rivalry between Fresno State and San Jose State will see the 172nd game of the series played on Wednesday. The series dates back to Dec. 18, 1916 in a 58-32 Spartan victory. Since then, SJSU has posted a 53-31 record in home games.

The Bulldogs enter the game currently third in the MW standings at 9-3. Their last game was a 64-60 loss to Utah Valley, which snapped a 7-game win streak, among the longest in the nation at the time. A pair of Bulldogs are averaging 18 points per game in Braxton Huggins and Deshon Taylor, ranking in the top-6 in the MW scoring standings. Fresno State is led by first year head coach Justin Hutson.

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