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Spartans thwart Tigers

How Miles gets four double digit scorers with a six-man rotation

SJSU Spartan guard Alvaro Cardenas driving & dishing to forward Shon Robinson in 78-66 win over Pacific, December 11. 2021.
photo by: Vic Aquino

Spartan head coach Tim Miles expected a University of Pacific team (4-6) led by coach Leonard Perry to be physical and San Jose State (5-4) got it.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for Leonard Perry and everything he’s done over the years and how he coaches,” said Miles. “And the one way they were going to beat us was by out-physicaling us; getting us on the boards, making us turn the ball over, and us not sharing the ball and making open shots.”

Regardless of an early 7-0 run and up by eight quickly, the Tigers pulled to within two by the middle of the first period and Miles became visibly agitated how quickly things turned.

“We’re trying to establish program pride. Pride in ourselves as players and who and what San Jose State basketball is and Pacific is a real physical team,” said Miles on his animated demeanor.” They started to do the things they needed to do to win, and I was worried.”

Spartans’ six-man rotation eventually needs to deepen...

Being still with a shallow roster so far this year, the Spartans were even shallower with only a six-man rotation against Pacific.

“We’re out a very key player for us in Ibrahima Diallo,” said Miles. “We’ve just been out guys.”

Without Diallo manning the middle, much of the paint protection was by committee between forwards Shon Robinson, Trey Anderson and Tibet Gorener.

“Tibet has not been the same since being out sick,” said Miles commenting on riding the defensive play of his 6’9 freshman forward. ”But Tibet was better today. So yes, there was a lot to be stressed about. Unfortunately, the refs were on the receiving end.“

Technicals and transition

Nine games in, it was the Spartans first technical foul of the season and befitting his dynamic personality, the technical went to Miles. In the second half, Perry also reciprocated vehemently and earned his very own technical for Pacific.

Pacific continued to run and gun on the bet they could wear down the sparse Spartan lineup. Miles remained reserve until the second half upping the transition game and finally out-dualling Perry’s game plan.

The Spartans had the game in hand with six minutes remaining.

“Every team is vulnerable in those first few seconds of the shot clock, and we only had three transition opportunities and one was a breakaway dunk on a steal.” said Miles on the first half approach. “We’re short in numbers, so you’ve got to be careful in how hard you run and what goes with it, but at the same time, we need more transition, and we were much better in the second half that way.”

More Trey

As Spartan guard Omari Moore quietly and smoothly poured in 18 points, game high scorer Trey Anderson’s 23 points came off filling the middle of the floor that’s been normally patrolled by center Diallo, who’s out with a knee injury.

“My game is based off my defense,” said Anderson. “I’ve always loved playing D. I take it personal, and my defense gets my offense going.”

On carrying the role as a playmaker and core contributor, Anderson continues to take it in stride.

“That all just varies game to game,” said Anderson. “Some guys are out. Some guys are back. Some are healthy. In practice, coach makes a big deal of practicing like we play and stay together no matter who’s on the court, who we don’t have, who’s hurt, who’s not. Just come out and defend just like we had Ibrahima or if we didn’t.”

Miles added, “Our guys competed well and did it in a team fashion. When you look at the amount of assists and our four guys in double figures, I think is a great start and our guys liking the event center and our home.”

The Spartans continue onto the third “P” as Miles described. Pepperdine, Pacific and onto Portland next Friday.

Let’s grade

If we were to apply a grade one-third into the season, it would be a subjective ‘B,’ especially in comparison to yesteryear. With relative objectivity for the season, San Jose State is at a C+ and rising.

SJSU forward Tibet Gorener passing to teammate Omari Moore vs. Pacific, December 11, 2021
photo by: Vic Aquino