Mendoza and Washington leads scoring attack, but San Jose State loses heartbreaker to UNLV 67-64

Photo credit: @SanJoseStateMBB

By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State men’s basketball team had hoped to snap their three-game losing skid with a win over the UNLV Rebels — especially in a nationally televised game on CBS Sports Network on Sunday. However, SJSU lost a heartbreaker, 67-64, to UNLV at the Provident Credit Union Event Center. SJSU (5-15, 3-13 MW) has now lost four straight games. Sebastian Mendoza led the Spartans with 14 points.

The Spartans’ starting five featured Omari Moore, Trey Smith, Sebastian Mendoza, Richard Washington, and Michael Ofoegbu Jr. The Spartans won the tip, and the game vs. UNLV was underway.

The Rebels got on the board first, as Devin Tillis and Caleb Grill each made layups for an early 4-0 lead at 18:21. However, SJSU responded to tie the game 4-4, thanks to two layups by Mendoza and Moore. Both teams exchanged leads and ties during the first half, but it was the Rebels who hung on for a mere 28-27 lead at halftime. The Spartans had the last score of the first half, as Ofoebu made a late layup with 16 seconds left.

The second half resembled the first half. Both teams exchanged leads and ties, the game went down to the wire, and the Spartans came up short in the end.

The Rebels opened the second half with a free throw by Bryce Hamilton just nine seconds in. At 13:09, Jalen Dalcourt hit a fastbreak 3-pointer cut the deficit to 44-39. Richard Washington hit his first 3-pointer of the game to cap off a 10-0 Spartans run with 8:30 left. Trey Smith added a 3-pointer of his own to tie the game 54-54 and make it a 13-0 Spartans run. The Rebels bounced back to take a 61-55 lead with 5:20 left, but Washington hit a 3 to bring the Spartans within three points, 61-58, just 22 seconds later. Washington and Sebastian Mendoza were in double figures and led the Spartans’ scoring attack with 10 and 12 points, respectively.

Omari Moore made it a one-point game, 61-60, with a jumper in the paint with 2:14 left. Moore made a second-chance layup to bring the Spartans within two points, 66-64, with 42 seconds left. UNLV called a timeout and David Jenkins Jr. made a second-chance free throw to secure a 67-64 win. UNLV (10-11, 7-7 MW) now has a two-game winning streak. Bryce Hamilton led the Rebels with 17 points.

The Spartans wrap up the regular season with a two-game series against the Wyoming Cowboys starting on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 pm PT.

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