SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Demetrius Brown scored a career-high 26 points to lead San Jose State to a 79-68 win over San Diego on Wednesday, giving the Spartans their best start in five years.
Alex Elam added 15 points for San Jose State, which improved to 3-1 under first-year head coach George Nessman. Since opening the season with an 88-54 loss to Texas Tech, the Spartans have won three straight, all by double digits.
Corey Belser scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds for road-weary San Diego (1-2). The Toreros are in the midst of a four-game road trip and won’t play their first home game until Nov. 30.
San Jose State led comfortably for most of the game but had to survive a late push from San Diego to earn its third straight victory, something the Spartans have been unable to do since winning four straight in December 2003.
A Brown free throw put San Jose State ahead 50-40 midway through the second half before San Diego made its best run of the game. Using a full-court press defense and getting three straight baskets by Nir Cohen, the Toreros pulled within 52-49 on a Belser 3-pointer with 8:43 remaining, but that was as close as they could get.
The Spartans responded with a quick 7-0 run capped by Julian Richardson’s 3-pointer, then turned to Brown to close the game out.
Brown, San Jose State’s leading scorer who red-shirted last year, was coming off a 23-point performance against Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo three nights earlier and showed no signs of slowing down against San Diego. He made a 14-foot jumper with 5:29 to put the Spartans ahead 61-51 then scored eight of the final 12 points for San Jose State down the stretch to seal the win.
Richardson finished with 10 points and seven assists for the Spartans. Matt Misko added 10 points and six rebounds.
Cohen had 12 points for San Diego, while Nick Lewis added 10.
The Spartans took control of the game early and led by as many as 12 points in the first half. San Jose State shot 51.7 percent from the floor while San Diego was just 31.3 percent shooting.