Photo credit: @SanJoseStateMBB
By Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State men’s basketball team were on one of television’s biggest platforms on Wednesday night. ESPN2 televised the SJSU vs. #25 Utah State conference contest at the Provident Credit Union Event Center, which was a pretty big deal if you follow the Mountain West.
The Spartans’ starters were Brae Ivey, Omari Moore, Christian Anigwe, Seneca Knight and Sam Japhet-Mathias.
USU’s Justin Bean went on a 4-0 run to open the scoring, but SJSU’s Brae Ivey ended the Aggies’ run with a fastbreak 3-pointer at 18:16. Bean continued to give the Spartans the fits with back-to-back layups to extend the Aggies’ lead to 8-3 at 16:50. SJSU’s Seneca Knight hit a 3 to make it a 2-point game 38 seconds later. USU’s Sam Merrill quickly responded with a 3 to put the Aggies ahead 11-6. Ivey, however, hit a 3 to put the Spartans back within 2 at 15:10.
The back-and-forth play continued past the 10-minute mark of the first quarter. The Spartans held a 21-19 lead with 7:08 left. The Aggies gave the Spartans fits, but somehow, SJSU made it a close game until the first half came to an end. SJSU’s Christian Anigwe buried a 3 to help the Spartans regain the lead 21-19. Then, SJSU’s Isaiah Nichols to cut the lead to 1 late in the half.
SJSU trailed 36-33 at the break. But the Spartans played one of their best halves in the young season as they shot 40% and hit six 3s.
USU struck first to open the second half, but SJSU made it a 3-point game, thanks to a Sam Japhet-Mathas layup at 19:12. Sam Merrill was a key Aggies scorer who received help from big men such as Brock Miller, Justin Bean and Alphonso Anderson. SJSU’s Craig LeCesne knocked down a jumper to cut the deficit to 10 with 6:20 left.
SJSU made some key plays like Seneca Knight’s pair of fastbreak free throws along with a fastbreak 3 late in the half. But it was USU who prevailed from Sam Merrill, Justin Bean, Abel Porter and Diogo Brito. The Aggies won 71-59.
With the win, USU improved to 8-1, 1-0 MW. With the loss, SJSU fell to 3-6, 0-1 MW.
The Spartans head to Viejas Arena to take on the San Diego State Aztecs on Sunday, December 8 at 12 pm PST.