San Jose State returned home for a brief, two-game homestand
San Jose State had hoped to avoid six consecutive losses
Home court advantage can be helpful, but did it help the Spartans?
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Prior to the Mountain West Conference matchup against the Air Force Falcons, the San Jose State Spartans were looking for something, anything, in a win.
The Spartans have lost their last five games; their last win came on December 21 against the Santa Clara Broncos. Meanwhile, the Falcons were almost as bad as they’ve lost their last four games; their last win came on December 22 against Johnson & Wales University Wildcats (Colorado).
The Falcons wasted no time getting on the board as Lavelle Scottie hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. Keith Fisher got the lone layup during that time span. Air Force was up 11-2 at the 15:43 mark of the first half.
The San Jose State cheerleading team put on an action-packed show and got the crowd pumped up with their “defense” chants. The Spartans trailed the Falcons 30-15 with 7:46 left in the first.
The Spartans went on a 8-0 run, but continued to trail the Falcons by nine (36-27) with 3:59 left. Brandon Mitchell scored a layup. Noah Baumann and Jalen James each drained a 3-pointer.
The Spartans’ run ended at nine points after Frank Toohey scored a layup with 2:56 left in the first. Toohey added another layup to make it 40-32 Falcons with 1:34 left.
Nai Carlisle scored a layup with 39 seconds left. Although the Spartans pulled within six, they still trailed the Falcons 40-34 at the end of the first.
Here are the Spartans’ halftime stats: 14-24 FG-FGA (total), 3-5 FG-FGA (3-ptrs), 3-6 FT-FTA, 13 total rebounds, 5 PF, 34 TP, 12 A, 5 TO, 2 blks, 2 stls, 100 min.
Both teams, particularly the Spartans, started the second half in an unforeseen contest of who can shoot more pairs of free throws. The action unfolded when James made a pair of free throws, Ryan Swan responded with a pair of free throws and Ashtin Chastain countered with two pairs of free throws. As a result, San Jose pulled within two (42-40) at the 18:06 mark of the second.
With a jumper and a 3-pointer, Baumann helped the Spartans to their first lead of the game, 45-42, at the 16:15 mark.
However, the Spartans’ lead was short-lived as Scottie scored a layup and Pervis Louder hit a 3-pointer to give the Falcons a 47-46 advantage at the 12:24 mark.
Both teams exchanged 3-pointers as Dane Norman hit his 3 first and James followed suit with a 3 of his own. The Spartans led by Falcons by one (51-50) at the 10:56 mark.
The Falcons began to pour in the points. Lyons had a jumper and a layup. Louder made a pair of free throws. Swan threw down a dunk. Air Force led San Jose State 58-53 with 5:12 left in regulation.
Chastain ended the Falcons’ mini 4-0 run with a jumper with 4:49 left. Swan answered with a 3-pointer, but Welage pulled the Spartans within four (61-57) 56 seconds later.
Once again, the Spartans’ lead was short-lived as Louder hit a 3-pointer and Swan made one of two free throws. The Falcons were up 65-59 with 1:54 left.
The Falcons refused to back down. Louder made a pair of free throws to put his team up 67-59 just 12 seconds later.
A personal flagrant foul was called on Fisher, which was his 14th foul of the season. As a result, Swan received (and made) a pair of free throws to give the Falcons a 10-point lead with 1:10 left.
The Spartans tried their best to make today’s game a close one and possibly tie it to force overtime, but their efforts fell short against the Falcons.
Baumann hit a 3-pointer and Welage made two pairs of free throws, but Jacob Van also made two pairs of free throws. That being said, fouls had a slight effect on the Spartans, who dropped their sixth straight game in a 78-71 loss to the Falcons at the Event Center.
Here are the Spartans’ final stats: 24-51 FG-FGA (total), 6-14 FG-FTA (3-ptr), 17-27 FT-FTA, 33 total rebounds, 22 PF, 71 TP, 15 A, 9 TO, 3 blks, 4 stls, 200 min.
The Spartans will host the Nevada Wolf Pack on Wednesday at 7:30 pm PT.