Oliver's buzzer-beat lifts SJSU over Hawaii 75-74

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Oliver's buzzer-beat lifts SJSU over Hawaii 75-74

March 9, 2011COLLEGE PAGE SJSU PAGEWAC TOURNAMENT SCOREBOARD
BOXSCORE

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Adrian Oliver hit a pull-up jumper with 5 seconds left on his way to 29 points and San Jose State had to sweat out a last-second review to beat Hawaii 75-74 in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament on Wednesday.

San Jose State (16-14), the eighth seed, trailed most of the way before a late run put the Spartans up five with less than 2 minutes left.

Fifth-seeded Hawaii (18-12) rallied to go up one in the closing seconds, but couldn't stop Oliver near the free-throw line. The Rainbow Warriors thought they had the game won when Bill Amis tipped in Jeremiah Ostrowski's desperation shot at the buzzer, but the officials ruled the basket no good after a video review.

"I tried to get to the free throw-line early and to make them guard me," Oliver said. "If I'm not scoring, I'm out there attracting other players toward me."

Oliver managed to score one final time, finishing 9 for 22 from the floor, and Wil Carter added 15 points for San Jose State. The Spartans move on to face No. 4 seed Idaho in Thursday's quarterfinals at Orleans Arena.

"Idaho's an outstanding team. They're going to be waiting for us," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "Their guards are pretty quick. They can push the ball. They have more weapons than you think. They're playing with confidence, but well be ready for them. We don't think our season's over."

Amis had 23 points, Joston Thomas added 16 and Zane Johnson 14 for Hawaii, which lost its sixth straight WAC tournament game after going 4 for 15 from 3-point range and 18 of 30 on free throws.

"It's been a great year; we weren't expected to be here," Hawaii coach Gib Arnold said. "It was an honor to be here. That's not the way it's supposed to end. We just needed one stop."

San Jose State has one of the nation's most prolific scorers in Oliver and was second in the WAC in scoring as a team.

The problem for the Spartans is defense.

San Jose State was last in the WAC in scoring defense at 73.1 points per game, which led to some not-very-impressive nonconference losses and a 5-11 run through the WAC that included a pair of losses to Hawaii.

The Rainbow Warriors held the Spartans to 31 percent and Oliver to just 10 points after he missed the previous two games in a win in January, then held San Jose State to 37 percent to beat them again in the penultimate game of the season last week.

The third matchup had a similar story line, only with Oliver getting his points.

The crafty senior sliced his way through Hawaii's defense throughout the first half, scoring seven of San Jose State's first 11 points and 16 by halftime.

The Spartans had trouble stopping almost everyone on Hawaii, though, allowing the Rainbow Warriors to hit 17 of 28 shots for a 42-37 halftime lead. Amis, after struggling to fight through double teams early, scored 14 points by halftime and Thomas had 11 despite hitting just 5 of 10 free throws.

San Jose State just wouldn't go away, answering every time the Rainbow Warriors tried to pull away.

The Spartans chipped the lead down to 61-60 with about 8 minutes left on a straightaway bank shot by Keith Shamburger, then tied it when Oliver hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 5 12 minutes left.

Oliver put San Jose State up four on a pair of free throws a minute later and Justin Graham made it 73-68 with just under 2 minutes left on a pullup jumper.

Hawaii wasn't quite done yet.

Amis hit a pair of free throws, then the Rainbow Warriors forced Oliver into a turnover to set up a breakaway by Johnson that made it 73-72 with about a minute left. San Jose State's Calvin Douglas missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 28 seconds left, then Amis dropped in two free throws to put the Spartans up 1, setting up the final sequence that sent the Spartans out to the court in jubilation and Amis doubled over in disappointment.

"It was a horrible feeling, but I'm proud to have been a part off this team," said Amis, who was 9 for 12 from the field to go with six rebounds and three blocked shots. "We worked hard all year."

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

The Sacramento Kings are young and lack experience. They have plenty of holes in their roster and they even sat three veterans when they rolled into the Staples Center for a 12:30 start on Sunday afternoon. 

Sacramento also has talent and they play hard. The Clippers just learned the hard way what plenty of other teams already knew - there is no quit in this team.

From start to finish, the Kings played a gritty style of defense. They closed out strong on the Clippers shooters and did their best to quash the alley-oop that Chris Paul is so famous for. Los Angeles coasted through the game assuming that they won before the opening tip. And then Sacramento flipped the table late, shutting the Clippers down in the fourth while riding a 22-3 run to finish the game with a 98-97 come from behind victory.

“I thought the whole game, the guys didn’t lose effort and they deserve it,” veteran point guard Darren Collison told media following the game. “Look at our last couple of weeks, even though the results haven’t been what we want it to be, so many guys that kept fighting, they were able to deserve this win.”

Trailing by 18 at the 5:16 mark of the fourth quarter, this game looked like so many others that we have seen over the last month. Sacramento had fought to stay in the contest, but in the end, the experience of their opponent wins out. But the Kings kept fighting.

“They didn’t lose hope, not one bit,” Collison said. “They kept pulling and pulling and pulling. Eventually they got some big threes, some big shots.”

So many contributed to the victory, but at the 2:19 mark, rookie Buddy Hield knocked down a 3-pointer to draw the Kings within six. Moments later he stole the inbounds pass and dropped in a second straight three in a nine second stretch.

“You just have to stay confident, trust yourself and trust what got you here,” Buddy Hield said.

Through three quarters, Hield had shot just 1-of-7 from the field and looked overwhelmed by the Clippers star players. He came alive in the fourth, hitting 3-of-3 from behind the arc to finish the quarter with 11 points and five rebounds. Hield scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds on the night, showing fans that he is ready to compete in crunch time.

“We kept playing and made some plays and the little things matter,” coach Dave Joerger said. “I’m really proud, it’s like we won Game 1 of the playoffs.”

With their teammates rallying on the court, the Kings bench looked like a cheerleader troup. All they needed was some pom-poms and a lot of eye liner.

Regardless of the record, Sacramento has remained a close knit group. Youth and veterans have meshed well as they forge towards another lottery selection. 

“I’ve been on a lot of teams, some winning teams and the chemistry is not as good as this team,” Collison added. “People don’t understand how hard it is to be in our shoes and come to work every single day with the circumstances that we have dealt with. But to be together still and fun, it shows a lot about this team. I’m real happy to be a part of this team. We’re not winning games, but the way we’re going about our business - we’re losing games together, we’re winning games together.”

Collison went off against his former team, scoring 19 points and handing out four assists in 28 minutes of action. Anthony Tolliver hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points and rookie Georgios Papagiannis but up 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and blocked two shots.

With the win, the Kings snapped their four-game losing streak and improve to 28-45 on the season. They play again on Monday when the Memphis Grizzlies drop by the Golden 1 Center on the second night of a road-and-home back-to-back.