Bryan Cole / The Collegian
MENâ€™S BASKETBALL – SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, AT 7 P.M., THE EVENT CENTER
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-11, 1-4 WAC) at San Jose State Spartans (8-8, 2-3 WAC)
With the Bulldogs getting off to such a poor start in conference play, there is a sense of urgency Fresno State will play with Saturday night at San Jose State.
Before playing Louisiana Tech on Thursday night, the â€™Dogs started 0-4 in the Western Athletic Conference and had the same problem in all of their losses â€“ crumpling down the stretch.
To avoid late meltdowns, Fresno State will need to get off to a fast start early on and not allow San Jose State to penetrate and play in the paint.
In their last matchup on Jan. 10, Spartan center C.J. Webster had a career-high of 23 points against his younger brother, Bulldog center Brandon Webster.
The game ended with an overtime victory for the Spartans and the second conference loss for the â€™Dogs.
Brandon Webster will get more minutes than he normally gets on Saturday night to play against the size of the Spartans, and will need to play strong defense against C.J. to force San Jose State to play from beyond the arch.
San Jose State only hit two three-point field goals against Fresno State earlier this month.
If Webster plays strong in the paint and doesnâ€™t allow second-chance points, the Bulldogs have enough fire power to pick up a needed road victory.
Coming off a comfortable win, 73-61, over WAC foe Hawaii, the San Jose Spartans look to keep the ball bouncing in the right direction. The Spartans are 3-3 overall at home this season, and 2-1 against WAC opponents at the Event Center.
Last time around, 40 minutes wasnâ€™t enough time to decide the outcome of the game for the two teams, but in overtime the Spartans found the answer on the road. In order for San Jose State to complete the season sweep, they will need to look to score in the post.
If they are able to get out to an early lead and not have to play from behind late in the game, the Spartans will be in good position.
San Jose State was able to mount a comeback in the last meeting, but had 19 minutes left in the second half to complete the comeback.
The Bulldogs should take advantage of the fact that the Spartans shoot poorly from the three-point line at 28 percent. In the last meeting, the Spartans out-rebounded the Bulldogs by nine.
Between center C.J. Webster and forward Chris Oakes, the two were able to gather a combined 21 rebounds.
If the Spartans could get solid play from both post players, along with guards Justin Graham and Robert Owens, look for the Spartans to keep the Bulldogs winless in conference play.
Keys to Victory
The Bulldogs win if …
center Brandon Webster outplays and outscores his older brother, Spartan center C.J. Webster.
The Spartans win if …
they keep the score tight down the stretch and force the Bulldogs to shoot foul shots in the last five minutes of the second half.
Player to watch:
Brandon Webster, center
By Logan Hopkins and George Stepanoff Jr. / The Collegian