March 9, 2011COLLEGE PAGE SJSU PAGEWAC TOURNAMENT SCOREBOARD
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."