San Jose State beats Utah Valley State

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Tim Pierce had 14 points and Justin Graham scored four points in the final 1:33 to help San Jose State beat Utah Valley State 52-47 in a non-conference game on Tuesday night.

Graham finished with 13 points, six assists and six rebounds for the Spartans (11-13), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Ryan Toolson scored 12 points to lead Utah Valley State (14-10), but he was just 4 of 14 from the floor. Toolson, who went into the game sixth in the nation in scoring with a 24.8 average, went 0-for-6 from 3-point range.

San Jose State played without leading scorer Adrian Oliver for the third straight game. Oliver, who is averaging 19.5 points a game, has not played since scoring a career-high 37 points and injuring his right ankle against Boise State on Feb. 7.

Without Oliver, the Spartans struggled to score consistently and couldn’t put the Wolverines away until Graham sank a pair of free throws with 1:33 remaining and added a short lean-in shot a minute later.

Toolson missed all of Utah Valley State’s final three shots, including two 3-point tries. The Wolverines lost for the first time in four games.

Pierce scored eight of his points in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half to help San Jose State build a 36-27 lead.

The Wolverines, who played the Spartans to a 23-23 tie in the first half, were still down 43-35 midway through the second half before making a final push. A pair of free throws by Toolson made it 48-47 with 1:46 left, but Utah Valley State got no closer and lost its final road game of the season.

Utah Valley State is a former junior college school making the transition to Division I. The Wolverines are in their final year of provisional status and will be eligible for NCAA postseason play in 2009-10.

Toolson was held without a shot for the first seven minutes and didn’t score until nearly 14 minutes were gone. Graham and Pierce provided the defense for San Jose, bottling up Toolson and forcing him to take several off-balance shots.

Without Toolson, the Wolverines fell behind 14-5 early but came back to tie the game at 23-23 heading into halftime, scoring the final four points of the half on a pair of Toolson free throws and Tyray Petty’s floating jumper in the lane.

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