Ugly start to conference play for Spartans

By Jose Trujillo (@jAy_Ay_T):

The opening game of Mountain West conference play saw the San Jose State men’s basketball team (3-9, 0-1 MW) fall to Utah State (8-6, 1-0 MW) 86-72 Wednesday night.

It was all Aggies from tip-off.

A 22-8 run in the first nine minutes paved the way for a dominant first half by Utah State.

The Spartans allowed the Aggies to shoot over 50 percent from the field in the first half, unable to find and answer for junior forward Dwayne Brown Jr.

In the first half alone, Brown scored 14 points on six of eight shooting.

The Spartans couldn’t buy a bucket, and shot 31 percent from the field. They hit more baskets from deep (four) than inside the arc (three).

The Spartans came out in the second half and played much better outscoring the Aggies 44-42. However, the improved play came a little too late.

Turnovers made things worse.

On the night, the Spartans finished with 23 while Utah State took care of the ball and turned it over just four times.

The game proved SJSU is going to have a hard time winning by giving the opposing team extra opportunities.

On the bright side, the Spartans shot an even 50 percent from the floor, better than Utah States’ 47 percent.

Yet the Aggies attempted 70 field goals, while the Spartans only attempted 50, which should be an area of concern for the Spartans heading into next week’s matchup.

For SJSU, only two players managed to score in double digits. Junior forward Ryan Welage once again led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds, hitting four of seven from downtown.

Coming off the bench, junior guard Jaycee Hillsman tied a career-best with 18 points in 25 minutes.

For the Aggies, both their sophomore guards finished with strong outings.

Koby McEwen delivered a solid game with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Sam Merrill was one assist shy of a double-double scoring 18 points and recorded nine assists.

Up next for the Spartans is a home matchup against Colorado State. Tip-off is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Event Center.

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