By Taylor Lupetti (@tayclupetti ):
After defeating the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in both matchups last season, the Spartans are back in the Event Center looking to extend the streak.
The Spartans ended 2017 with a tough 59-52 home loss against Colorado State, a team they have not beaten in 16 tries, but have fell to three games straight by less than ten points.
SJSU (3-10, 0-2 MW) will be taking on UNLV (11-3, 0-1 MW) for its first game of 2018 and third conference game of the season.
Both the Spartans and Runnin’ Rebels have had slow starts in conference. UNLV was defeated by Boise State 83-74 and SJSU has fallen to both Utah State and the Rams.
With 11 wins under their belt so far this season, the Runnin’ Rebels have a freshman on their roster that has been unstoppable. Standing 7-feet tall, Brandon McCoy has been racking up double-doubles all year with an 18.7 ppg and 10.9 rpg average.
The Spartans have some freshman to watch of their own. Redshirt freshman Keith Fisher has helped give the team the highest rebounding percentage in the Mountain West which is +8.8, which also lands the Spartans in the top-20 in the country in the rebounds per game department.
Rising from the roster is Spartans freshman wing Noah Baumann who hit a personal best against Colorado State when he scored 14 points in 17 minutes. Baumann also scored nine points in 13 minutes against Utah State.
Averaging a team high 18.2 points per game is junior forward Ryan Welage who is just 48 points away from being the 15th player in SJSU men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 points, an achievement that has not been accomplished since 2011.
Tonight’s game is the last one at home for a week as the Spartans will head on the road for a two-game trip.
Tip-off is at 8 p.m. inside The Event Center.