Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By: Ana Kieu
The dog days for San Jose State men’s basketball finally came to a screeching halt Tuesday night when the home team shockingly picked up its first conference win of the season 89-82 over the New Mexico Lobos inside the Event Center. As expected, the crowd was loud, but it was pretty much Spartan alumni and/or season-ticket holders. Hopefully, more current SJSU students flock to these games, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at what to expect in Saturday’s road game.
At a Glance
SJSU, fresh off their first conference win of the season, will look to keep the momentum rolling as they face San Diego State Saturday inside Viejas Arena. Fans can catch the game on Fox Sports San Diego or Mountain West Network. As always, Justin Allegri will provide the Spartan radio call on the TuneIn app.
Game No. 28
SJSU (4-23, 1-14) at SDSU (18-10, 10-5)
Saturday, March 2, 7:00 pm PST
Viejas Arena (12,414)
San Diego, Calif.
Fans can view live stats of all SJSU 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 Win Mean?
The Spartans are looking for win No. 5 on the season, which would be the most in the last two season since going 14-16 in 2016-17. A win over the Aztecs would also be the second in conference play, also the most since winning seven in 2016-17.
Recapping Game One vs. SDSU
Game one of the two-game series this season against the Aztecs resulted in an 11-point loss inside the Event Center. SJSU played well enough to win, but was unable to hold off SDSU as they took advantage of three Spartan turnovers in a span of three minutes to take a 13-point lead. SJSU was unable to make up the ground and fell 67-56.
Craig LeCesne (14) and Brae Ivey (12) led the Spartans in scoring, while Michael Steadman pulled down a team-best 11 rebounds.
Reviewing the Big Win
SJSU’s 89-82 win over UNM was a historic night inside the Event Center. Not only did it break a 17-game losing streak, it also boasted a plethora of records.
» The win was the second all-time against the Lobos and the first-ever in San Jose.
» Noah Baumann broke his own school record with eight 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting. He finished with a team-best 26 points.
» Brae Ivey tied a school record with six steals on the evening. He was one of multiple players to tally six steals, but just the first since Justin Graham versus the Santa Clara Broncos on December 10, 2010.
» Michael Steadman had his second-straight game with 21 points as well as his second-straight double-double. He had 10 made field goals and 20 field goal attempts, both the most by a Spartan this season.
» Steadman and Baumann became the first duo to score 20 points this season and were the first since Ryan Welage and Jaycee Hillsman versus Wyoming in the Mountain West Tournament last season (3/7/18).
The Spartans have played nine first-year players this season, including regular starters Michael Steadman, Zach Chappell, Craig LeCesne and Brae Ivey. The newcomers are accounting for 69.9% of the Spartans’ offense (1,243-1,778).
Steadman alone is accounting for 20% of the Spartans’ offense with 362 points (20.3%).
Baumann the Boss
Sophomore Noah Baumann has been shooting lights out from beyond the arc this season, so good in fact that he leads the MW in 3-point percentage (46.5%). Baumann also ranks in the top-10 in the MW in 3-pointers per game (2.5).
Baumann set a new school record of 22 consecutive games with a 3-point bucket made against UNLV on Feb. 16, breaking a tie with Robert Owens, who closed out 2009-10 on a 21-game streak, for the new record. His streak is currently at 25.
In the loss to Utah State, Baumann had one of the most impressive performances of his career as he scored a career-high 29 points and tied the then-school record with seven 3-pointers (7-of-10). He also set career highs in 3-point attempts and field goal attempts.
Baumann has hit the school record in 3-point makes twice the season, the second time, however, versus New Mexico, he broke the record outright with eight. He finished 8-of-12 from the 3-point range to lead the Spartans to a win over New Mexico.
Baumann holds the first and seconnd highest-scoring performances by a Spartan this season with 29 versus Utah State and 26 versus New Mexico. The sophomore is averaging 10.7 points in MW play, second-most on the team (Steadman). He’s also second to Steadman with 11.6 points in the last five games.
The Zach Chappell Show
Freshman Zach Chappell has come on strong as of late, starting the last five games and averaging 9.4 points in those starts. Against UNLV, Chappell finished with 11 points, a career-high six rebounds and nine assists — tied for the most by a Spartan this season. He had 10 points versus Colorado State.
In the win over New Mexico, Chappell finished with a career-high 17 points and dished out 9 assists. He now has two games with 9 assists on the season, which was tied with Craig LeCesne for the most by any Spartan.
Chastain in Charge
Junior center Ashtin Chastain has been tasked to fill in the gap in the starting lineup with senior Oumar Barry sidelined by injury. Chastain has started the last 10 games in his stead.
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.
Despite losing 90-71 to CSU, the Spartans may have found a hidden gem in the form of junior walk-on Brian Rodriguez-Flores, who played 17 minutes and scored a season-high 13 points. He followed with a season-best 33 minutes at Air Force, where he was the first player off the bench and finished with 12 points.
Freshman guard Seneca Knight has upped his game recently. In the last five games, he has been averaging 9.6 points, third-best on the team in that stretch. Against Colorado State, he led the team with a 14 point performance. He followed with 12 points at Air Force.
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 sixth in the MW with 8.4 rebounds per game. He has nine double-doubles on the season, ranking fourth in the conference and has scored in double figures in 20-of-27 games. He also has 12 games with double-digit rebounds.
Steadman leads the Spartans with five games with at least 20 points, and has twice achieved the feat in back-to-back efforts. First was against AF and USU. He put up a career-high 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the loss to AF. He then followed up with 20 points at USU.
Steadman has also achieved the feat in the last two games, starting with a career-best 17 rebounds and 21 points at AF. In his last outing, he finished once again with 21 points and pulled down 11 boards in the win over UNM.
Steadman is averaging 14. 8 points per game in the last five games and is averaging 13.4 in MW games.
Change It Up
Prioleau has used 10 different lineups throughout the season with no one player starting each time out. Barry had started the first 17 games before an injury kept him out of the lineup the last four games. Seven newcomers have made starts, including freshmen Seneca Knight, Zach Chappell, Trey Smith and Christian Anigwe.
Baumann and Steadman Remain as Keys
In SJSU’s four wins this season, there have been two critical factors: Noah Baumann and Michael Steadman.
In those four games, the pair is averaging 15.3 points each. Steadman has pulled down 11.3 rebounds in those games while Baumann has been red-hot from the 3-point range in each game, averaging 69.6% from the 3-point range (16-23).
On the Board(s)
SJSU ranks third in the MW in offensive boards with 11.0 per game and rank sixth in defensive boards with 26.0.
Series History: SDSU
The Aztecs lead the series by a slim margin 39-35, but have claimed nine of the last 10, including the last three. The Spartans’ last win came on February 7, 2017 at home 76-71. Prior to that win, SDSU had a seven-game win streak, the second-longest streak in the series. The longest such streak belongs to the Spartans, who won nine straight from 1948-1952. SDSU won the first game against SJSU this season 67-56 in San Jose.
The Aztecs, under second-year head coach Brian Dutcher, enter Saturday’s game on a one-game losing skid after USU knocked them off of a five-game winning streak 70-54 in Logan, Utah.
SDSU excels at shooting the 3-ball. They rank second in the MW in 3-point percentage with a 36.6% clip and also rank third in 3-point defense (33.0%). The lethal scoring duo of Jalen McDaniels and Devin Watson will once again prove to be a huge test against SJSU as they each rank in the top-10 in the MW in scoring. The duo combined for 49 points the first time the teams met in February (Watson: 27, McDaniels: 22).
Baumann Chases History
Noah Baumann is having a season to remember in his second season as the Spartans’ sharpshooter. In addition to breaking two school records already (consecutive games with a 3 and single-game 3-pointers), he is quickly ascending the single-season mark for made 3-pointers.
Baumann is 67-of-144 from the 3-point range with three regular season games to go. His 67 makes currently rank as the seventh most in school history.
SJSU Single-Season 3-Point Record Leaders
1. Robert Owens (2010) … 78
2. Rashad Muhammad (2014) … 75
3. Billy Landrum (2000) … 74
4. Adrian Oliver (2011) … 70
5. Tim Pierce (2008) … 69
6. Mac Peterson (2010) … 68
7. Noah Baumann (2019) … 67
Baumann’s 46.5% 3-point percentage is also on pace to break his own school record set last season (46.0%).