Photo credit: @SJSUMBB
By: Ana Kieu
San Jose State men’s basketball had hoped for the Thomas & Mack Center, home of the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, to see a Spartan win Saturday night. After all, Thomas & Mack has seen a lot of excellent events throughout the years.
Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau went with a starting lineup featuring Brae Ivey, Noah Baumann, Zach Chappell, Michael Steadman and Oumar Barry.
Last time out, Baumann knocked down a program record tying seven 3-pointers. Fast forward to Saturday when SJSU started a two-game road trip, starting at UNLV.
SJSU won the tip and the game went underway in Las Vegas. The Spartans trailed 10-4 at the first media timeout. Things faltered from there, as the Rebels went on a 11-0 run and the Spartans fell into a larger deficit, 21-6, at the second media timeout.
It was all Rebels in the first half. Nickalas Blair found Jonathan Tchamwa in transition for the dunk. Bryce Hamilton got the steal, save and score for a notable heads up play. Trey Woodbury hit a corner 3 to extend the Rebels’ lead to 21. The Spartans shot just 31% compared to the Rebels’ 53%. Prioleau was visibly upset and the Spartans shrugged off to the locker room with a 46-25 deficit at the half.
The Spartans’ turnovers and overall offense proved to be a continual problem in the second half. SJSU trailed 68-35 at the 11:58 mark.
Should we be surprised? Not really. The Rebels continued to play high-caliber basketball. Joel Ntambwe knocked down a triple. Hamilton followed up with a step-back jumpshot for 3.
Prioleau used every player on the Spartans’ bench in hopes of a scoring streak, but the Spartans’ offense was unable to score at an average or higher level. SJSU trailed by thirty, 77-47, with 7:21 left.
The Rebels put the game out of reach and expanded its lead to 85-49 with 4:49 seconds left. All the Spartans could do was wrap things up and gear up for their next opponent.
The Spartans never took the lead and used their final timeout with 50 seconds left. The Rebels hit at a sky-high rate, ran their offense and dribbled the game out. SJSU lost 94-56 for their eighth straight loss.
SJSU dropped to 3-14, 0-5 MW, while UNLV improved to 10-7, 4-1 MW.
SJSU heads to Laramie, Wyo. to take the Wyoming Cowboys Wednesday, January 23 at 6:00 pm PT.