By Andrew Talamantes (@DrewTooSavvy):
The San Jose State men’s basketball team (2-4) heads into unfamiliar territory in search of their third win at Southern Illinois (3-2).
Coming off a tough loss on the road against the Bowling Green Falcons (6-2), the Spartans are searching for a way back in the win column, in the home state of junior guard Jaycee Hillsman.
Although the Spartans came up short in the game, there were some bright spots SJSU showed.
While playing an average of 31 minutes per game this season, junior forward Ryan Welage scored a team high with 23 points, shooting 50 percent from three while grabbing six rebounds.
Expect Welage to be a huge scoring threat that the Salukis will have their hands full with come Saturday.
The Spartans’ combination of junior center Oumar Barry, freshmen forward Keith Fisher III and sophomore center Ashtin Chastain have been dominant on the glass.
The three of them combined to score 33 points and 30 rebounds against the Falcons.
Even though the Spartans have been great at rebounding, they haven’t been so good in other categories. The team is only shooting 75 percent from the free throw line and 33 percent from beyond the arc for the season.
The Salukis offense is well balanced and with a good performance from junior center Kavion Pippen who is averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, San Jose State’s big men may have their work cut out for them.
After losing two straight, Southern Illinois picked up its third win of the season against an inexperienced 1-5 SIU Edwardsville Cougars team who never stood a chance.
With both teams still looking to prove themselves, expect this to be an even matchup that might come down to who can control the fourth quarter.
SJSU tips off at Southern Illinois at 3 p.m.