Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State men’s basketball team continues its opening week of Mountain West play with a visit to undefeated San Diego State on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s conference contest.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (3-6, 0-1 MW)
PPG: 65.6 | FG%: 39.8 | 3FG%: 27.0 | FT%: 65.2
NOTES: The Spartans trailed by just three at the half and kept it close until a late run by No. 25 Utah State in Wednesday’s 71-59 conference-opening loss. SJSU is 3-0 when shooting better than 45% on field goals and is 0-6 when shooting under 45%. After using the same starting lineup for the first six games of the season, Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau has used a different combo in each of the last three. Freshman guard Omari Moore has started twice in that stretch.
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (9-0, 1-0 MW)
PPG: 77.0 | FG%: 47.1 | 3FG%: 40.1 | FT%: 71.9
SERIES: SJSU trails, 35-40 (8-26 in San Diego)
LAST: SJSU lost, 84-56, on 3/2/19 at SDSU
NOTES: SDSU has started a season 9-0 for the second time in program history. The Aztecs opened Mountain West play on Wednesday with a 79-57 win at Colorado State. Malachi Flynn, a Washington State transfer, had a game-high 23 points plus 7 assists. Flynn is sixth in the MW in points per game (16.9) and second in assists per game (5.4).
TV: Fox Sports SD with Steve Quis and Ros Gold-Onwude
RADIO: Justin Allegri on the call through TuneIn.com and the TuneIn app. Search for “San Jose St. Basketball”.
Sophomore Christian Anigwe has been an anchor for the Spartans in the middle this season. Anigwe ranks ninth in the MW in rebounds per game at 6.6 RPG. The 6-foot-9 big man is also seventh in the MW in blocked shots per game at 1.2 BPG. He has had a season-best three blocked shots vs. both Grambling and Oregon State.
SAN JOSE STATE STYMIES GRAMBLING STATE
Grambling State entered the game on Nov. 20 with the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense, averaging 114 points over its first three games. The Spartans held the Tigers 38 points under their average in an 83-76 win at the Provident Credit Union Event Center. Grambling State was 1-of-10 shooting on 3-pointers.
SAN JOSE STATE DOWNS SIMPSON
The Spartans had 13 different players score in an 85-60 win over Simpson on Nov. 17. Zach Chappell came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points, including a pair of 3s. Seneca Knight was 6-of-8 shooting for 15 points. Craig LeCesne added 13 points in 19 minutes. Ralph Agee posted 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Harminder Dhaliwal made his collegiate debut and had 2 points and 2 rebounds in six minutes.
SAN JOSE STATE STUNS HOFSTRA IN SEASON OPENER
SJSU opened the 2019-20 season with a bang, defeating Hofstra on the road, 79-71, on Nov. 6. Hofstra won 27 games last year, SJSU lost 27 games. In his Spartan debut, JC transfer and former Wake Forest guard, Richard Washington, posted a team-high 23 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting. Washington scored 12 of his 23 points in the final four minutes, including a stretch of three straight 3s to put the game away. Craig LeCesne had his first career double-double with a career-high 19 points plus 11 rebounds. It was SJSU’s first win in a road opener since 2010-11 when the Spartans topped Eastern Washington, 67-60. The Spartans snapped a 21-game road losing streak dating back to 2017-18. SJSU won on the East Coast for the first time since 2001-02, when the Spartans defeated Fairleigh Dickinson at the BCA Tournament hosted by NC State in Raleigh, N.C.
The Spartans return seven players who started at least one game a season ago. Seneca Knight is the most experienced, as the sophomore started 17 games, including the final 12, of his rookie season. Brae Ivey was just behind Knight, as the former junior college transfer started 16 games last season. Craig LeCesne and Zach Chappell both started 15 games last year. Christian Anigwe, Isaiah Nichols and Trey Smith each started one game.
SIX NEW PLAYERS
SJSU head coach Jean Prioleau will have the help of six newcomers on the roster in 2019-20. The Spartans have three new junior college transfers in Richard Washington (Tallahassee CC), Eduardo Lane (Marshalltown CC) and Ralph Agee (East LA College). Washington started his collegiate career at Wake Forest, where he played eight games as a freshman before an injury caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season. Another Wake Forest transfer will join the Spartans on the floor this season, as center Samuel Japhet-Mathias will be eligible after a redshirt season last year. The former four-star recruit appeared in 17 games off the bench at Wake Forest as a freshman in 2016-17. He posted 6 points and 4 rebounds at No. 17 Xavier. Prioleau added two freshmen this season in guard Omari Moore and walk-on center Harminder Dhaliwal.
SJSU will play 10 games on TV this season, including three at home. SJSU hosts an ESPN networks game this year for the first time since 2010-11, when either ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry the SJSU tip against Utah State on Dec. 4. SJSU will also be on ESPN2 or ESPNU when visiting Utah State on Feb. 26. SJSU will have four non-conference games on TV, all against Pac-12 competition. The Spartans will be on CBS Sports Network when hosting Stanford at the Provident Credit Union Event Center on Dec. 14. SJSU will battle both UCLA and Arizona on Pac-12 Networks and meet Oregon State on FS1 for a neutral site game in Las Vegas. The Spartans will also have four Mountain West contests on AT&T SportsNet this season — Jan. 15 at UNLV, Jan. 21 at New Mexico, Feb. 8 at Nevada and Feb. 29 vs. UNLV.