In what San Jose State (7-7, 0-2 MW) expected Saturday afternoon, they got in spades. Another big athletic team in Colorado State (13-1, 3-1 MW) had their way with the smaller Spartans in a 78-42 blow out.
Though it’s great news for what’s happening across the conference in terms of parity – growing pains for head coach Tim Miles’ short-handed program is tough sledding up a steep mountain.
“We were really disjointed in the first half,” said Miles. “I had four play calls ready to run and we were misaligned on two of them and we ran the other two incorrectly.”
A first half of hardships
After Spartan forward Trey Anderson hit a 3-pointer in the very first possession of the game, the tone of the game went downhill from there for the Spartans, who managed only 17 points in the half.
SJS had two turnovers in the following possessions and two airball threes. The Rams easily got into the paint and an early 10-0 run, while softening up the fragile interior of the Spartans.
“I asked myself what’s going on mentally?” said Miles on how the Spartans started the game. “Why aren’t we able to rise to the occasion? It’s my job to get them there, of course.”
Miles continued, “Even when we got some stops and we were hanging in there until the last three minutes of the first half, we just couldn’t get anything going on offense, we were just so disheveled.”
A lost second half
It wasn’t until seven minutes into the second half that the Spartans scored on a three by Anderson, who’s first three opened the game. Six points and six rebounds were Anderson’s output for the evening.
By that time, the Ram’s opened up a 30-point lead.
Spartan guard Omari Moore provided some glimmer of offense scoring 15 points primarily on attacking drives, but overall, 27.8 percent shooting by SJS didn’t allow any chance to be competitive against the Rams.
Spartan guard Josh O’Garo came off the bench in the final three minutes and exploded with a quick 10 points, two rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Spartans also held Mountain West candidate for player of the year, David Roddy, to six points, though Roddy’s presence was still felt via his 11 rebounds and six assists.
SJS’ emphasis to try and coral Roddy also led to blocking three of his shots.
It’s UNLV on MLK day
“We can’t solve every problem we have,” said Miles on being short-handed. “Right now, it’s lack of offensive rhythm; the ability to be stronger at the rim; and driving the ball better into space. Defensively we have to play with more physicality and be better on the ball.”
The Spartans have a day to manage some of those corrections before a rising UNLV team arrives Monday at the Event Center.
It’s also expected that the Spartans will not have any further interior help. Though center Ibrahima Diallo was recently cleared to test his injured knee, the team still won’t know for a few more weeks if he can be available this season.