SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—C.J. Webster deflected a shot by Nevada’s Brandon Fields underneath the basket with two seconds remaining and San Jose State snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Wolfpack with a 62-60 win Thursday night.
Webster finished with 17 points and seven rebounds while Chris Oakes added 12 and eight for the Spartans (8-7, 1-2 Western Athletic Conference), who have already won more games this season than they have since 2002, when the team went 10-22.
San Jose State led 61-56 with just over a minute remaining when JaVale McGee made a short jumper and Marcelus Kemp scored on a driving lay-up to pull Nevada within one with 14 seconds left to play. Justin Graham was fouled on the Spartans’ ensuing possession but missed his second of two free throws, giving the Wolfpack a final chance.
But Kemp, the WAC’s second-leading scorer going in, hurried a 3-pointer that didn’t even hit the rim. Fields grabbed the air ball and tried to go back up but Webster got his hand up to deflect the shot and preserve the win for San Jose State.
It is the Spartans’ first win over Nevada since a 76-72 victory in Reno on March 2, 2002. Since then, the Wolfpack have dominated the series, winning by 15 points or more in five of the schools’ 10 meetings.
That was until Thursday, when San Jose State won despite shooting just 29 percent in the first half and making only two of 12 3-pointers overall.
Armon Johnson had 16 points and seven rebounds for Nevada (8-6, 0-1 WAC), which lost its conference opener for only the second time in six years. The Wolfpack were originally scheduled to open against Utah State on Jan. 5, but the game was postponed due to high winds and heavy snowfall in Reno.
That was a bad omen for Nevada, which is 6-1 at home this season but fell to 2-5 on the road.
The Wolfpack led by as many as 11 in the first half but couldn’t hold on against the scrappier Spartans, who denied Nevada coach Mark Fox his 90th win.
McGee was called for a technical foul early in the second half when he kicked the ball into the stands after being called for a foul while trying to block a shot by Webster. The 7-foot sophomore forward had only six points and two rebounds when his frustrations boiled over.
Graham sank both technical free throws and Webster added two more to give the Spartans a 40-37 lead with 13:21 remaining, but it was the Wolfpack who seemed to get the biggest lift out of the technical. Lyndale Burleson’s 3-pointer tied the game before Johnson’s lay-up gave Nevada a 42-40 lead. Johnson added six more over the next 4:30, including a pair of free throws to make it 54-49.
The Spartans responded with a 12-2 run to take the lead for good.
Nevada led 22-11 midway through the first half, but San Jose State went on a 15-4 run over the final 9:24 to tie the game at the break.
Kemp, the WAC’s second-leading scorer going in with 19 points a game, missed seven of nine shots and had five turnovers in the first half. He finished with 13 points on 6 of 16 shooting.