It was the dreaded and the proverbial tale of two halves in San Jose State’s (3-12, 0-3 MW) 87-64 home loss to visiting Boise State (8-8, 3-0 MW) on Saturday. The Spartan’s first-half was Jekyll and the second-half Hyde.
“In my heart-of-hearts, you’ve got to play defense to the best of your ability to get stops, because night in, night out you’re not going to be able to shoot the ball well.” said Spartan head coach Jean Prioleau. ”In the first-half, we shot well and they didn’t and in the second-half it was reversed, but the one thing you can hang your hat on has to be defense. We didn’t exert enough energy on defense to keep the score close the whole way.”
The Spartans shot 50% in the first-half and roared back from an 11-point deficit to end the half down only 37-34. San Jose was stabilized by center Oumar Barry’s 10 first-half points and guard Brae Ivey’s 11 first-half points. Barry led the Spartans with 16 total points followed by Ivey’s 11-points with 8 of Ivey’s points from the free-throw line in the first-half.
“We battled in the first-half.” said Prioleau. “I thought we had really good energy. Oumar and Mike (Steadman) did a really good job trying to control the boards.”
In the second-half, the Spartans fell victim to another significant run, as it did against Nevada and Fresno. The Broncos outscored the Spartans 17-3 over a 6-minute span leading to a 50-point second-half, while San Jose went cold going 1-11 from the field in the same time span.
Boise came out in the second-half with tremendous ball movement; led by Bronco guards Alex Hobbs and Pat Dembley with 18-points each and Spartan-thorn-in-the-side, Justinian Jessup with 17-points.
Also, a not-so-surprising 18 Spartan turnovers wasn’t such the culprit to the big Bronco scoring run, considering Boise’s 15 three-pointers were the most given up by the Spartans this season. Also, Boise’s 11 offensive rebounds were Spartan momentum killers, as the Broncos won the overall rebound battle.
“We’re trying to work on a lot of things and consistency is one of them and we weren’t consistent going into the second-half.” said Prioleau. “It’s just a mark of where our program is and where Boise State’s program is and we need to come back Monday and get better.”
As the big theme from these Spartan losses is a matter of being too inconsistent, it’s equally a matter of not playing a full 40 minute game, which San Jose just isn’t doing right now.
“And that’s where the consistency comes into play.” said Prioleau. ”This is a process like I’ve said a 1,000 times and yes, people say when, when, when, but the process takes time. Our guys are learning our league and we got a lot of new guys.”