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Spartan Basketball: Rams held it together

Colorado State was head coach-less until hours before the game

San Jose State Spartans Basketball head coach, Jean Prioleau
San Jose State Spartan head coach, Jean Prioleau
Vic Aquino - SBNation.com

The Spartans came off their second bye going into Fort Collins to face a surprisingly loose and relaxed Rams team and unfortunately, the news angles were squarely on the Rams.

Given the fresh turmoil from Colorado’s disgraced-duo Larry Eustachy and now, Steve Barnes suddenly being removed, the Rams were without a head coach early on this game day against the Spartans.

The Ram players only discovered who their third head coach was a few hours before game time. Second-year assistant, Jase Herl, a recognized up-and-coming 30-under-30 coach, stepped in well for Colorado State.

And more unfortunately, the Spartans experienced a 90-79 loss extending their winless streak to 12.

Regardless, the Spartans found the Rams were still up to the task despite Colorado’s upper management predicament. The Rams won handily; pulling away decisively late in the second half and ending a 7-game losing streak by winning at home for the first time in 2018.

First Half:

It was a relatively close and entertaining half with the 3-pointers flying on both sides. Spartans Ryan Welage & Noah Baumann hit 13 and 11 points, respectively, and the Spartans found themselves only trailing 46-40 in a game where they never were able to gain a lead.

  • The Spartans uncharacteristically only committed 4 turnovers that the Rams transitioned into 8 points
  • All key statistical areas were generally even between both teams going into the half and the Spartan chance was there

Second Half:

After both teams exchanged scoring droughts and binges, the Rams erupted from their one-point lead over the Spartans with about 9 minutes left in the game.

Colorado’s pressure and response pushed the Rams to a 10-point lead in just less than a minute and had swelled up to 17 points before the final 90-79 score.

  • Rams Nico Carvacho had a career-high 26 points and 20 rebounds, while Anthony Bonner added 19 points, mostly from the 3-point arc
  • Spartans Keith Fisher and Noah Baumann also had career-highs with 23 points and 16 points, respectively
  • Spartan Ryan Welage moved to 8th on the Spartan all-time scoring list with 16 points

The Spartan’s general issues remain the same: untimely turnovers, especially from set plays after timeouts, and transition defense.

Offensively, can the Spartans run more in transition to stretch the defense and add this scoring depth to potentially open up their half court sets?

The Spartans are home on Valentine’s Day to face the Fresno State Bulldogs in what could be a bitter or sweet game.