Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Connor Hill
Idaho looks to climb
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/02/2012
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Game 30: Idaho (17-12, 8-5) at San Jose State (9-20, 1-12)
When: March 3, 2012 (7 p.m. PT)
Where: San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Television: None
Online Video: www.SJSUSpartans.com
Live Stats: www.SJSUSpartans.com

A Look at the Spartans
San Jose State is 9-20 overall this season and 1-12 in the WAC entering Saturday’s regular-season finale. The Spartans have lost three straight overall and four in a row in WAC play. As a team, SJSU averages 68.7 points on 39.7 percent shooting, while opponents are hitting 44.9 percent and scoring 73.7 per game. The Spartans take care of the ball better than anyone else in the WAC with a 1.19 assist-to-turnover ratio and just 11.2 giveaways per game. Junior guard James Kinney leads the team with 16.1 points on 41.5 percent shooting per game. Senior forward Wil Carter leads the team in  WAC play with 16.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

San Jose State Head Coach George Nessman
George Nessman is in his seventh season with San Jose State. He has posted a 77-139 coaching record at SJSU. Last year, he led the Spartans to their first winning season in 17 years at 17-16, and also broke a 15-year postseason drought with a 2011 College Basketball Invitational bid. Before his time at SJSU, Nessman was head coach at Porterville College for 11 seasons with a 178-76 record and a 2000 California Community College title. He is a 1981 graduate of California.

Vandals and  Spartans
In a series full of very close games, San Jose State holds a 13-9 edge over Idaho. The Vandals claimed a 74-66 win earlier this year at the Cowan Spectrum and also won, 75-67, the last time they played at San Jose. The Spartans won two of three games last year, including a 74-68 victory in the quarterfinal round of the WAC Tournament. Only seven of the 22 games in series history have been decided by double figures and seven have been decided by five points or fewer. Idaho is 3-7 all-time in road games in the series and is 7-8 against SJSU since the teams became conference foes in 2005-06.

Seeding Still at Stake
With its 82-63 victory at Hawai`i on Mar. 1, Idaho locked up at least the #3 seed in next weekend’s WAC Tournament. An Idaho win at San Jose State on Saturday, paired with a New Mexico State loss at Fresno State, would give the Vandals a #2 seed. Fresno State is locked into the #7 seed and will play the #2. If Idaho stays at #3, the Vandals will play either Hawai`i or Louisiana Tech, pending Saturday’s results. Idaho’s highest WAC Tournament seed under head coach Don Verlin is the #3 seed in 2009.

Seriously Crashing The Boards
Idaho’s 46 rebounds on Mar. 1 at Hawai`i are a team season high. The team’s +19 rebounding margin and 36 total defensive rebounds in the game are the most Idaho has posted in conference play since joining the WAC in 2005-06. In the game, five different Vandals had at least five rebounds and four players have seven or more boards, led by junior Mike McChristian’s career-high nine rebounds in the game.

All-Around Boost
Junior guard Mike McChristian gave Idaho a big boost in all aspects of Idaho’s 82-63 win at Hawai`i on Mar. 1. He scored six points on 2-of-3 shooting, including his first career 3-pointer. He also added a career-high nine rebounds, with seven coming on the defensive end. He helped key the Vandal offense with a career-high three assists and no turnovers, and also added a pair of steals in 23 minutes of play.

Sprint to the Finish
Idaho was 11-10 this season through its games in November, December and January. The Vandals went 5-2 in February and are 1-0 so far in March. Idaho has had a winning record in the month of February in three of head coach Don Verlin’s four seasons and the team is 24-18 overall in February/March during Verlin’s tenure.

Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.
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