Fresno State Advances Past San Jose State

Times Staff Writer

San Jose State, the team that had to all but start from scratch in January, got its final chance for a post-walkout victory Wednesday night in the first round of the Big West Conference basketball tournament at the Long Beach Arena.

The Spartans doggedly kept after Fresno State and had a chance to cut the lead to one point in the final two minutes, but finally lost, 64-60.

“It was a tough game to lose, because obviously we played to win,” San Jose State Coach Bill Berry said.

Berry rebuilt his team in January after 10 players walked out, accusing him of verbal abuse. They refused to play until he was fired or resigned.


The school stood by Berry, and a walk-on team was assembled to join four players who remained.

San Jose lost its next 12 games, but four of those defeats were by fewer than 10 points.

With the season over, Berry will await word on his future at the school. San Jose State finished 5-22.

Athletic Director Randy Hoffman has said a decision will probably not be announced for at least a week.


In the meantime, Berry said, he and his staff will “keep on going.”

"(We’ll) just go on the road and recruit,” he said. “Whenever he calls, I’ll be there, I guess.”

With the victory, Fresno State (15-13) clinched a winning season, its first under third-year Coach Ron Adams, whose teams won only nine games in each of his first two seasons.

Kevin Stevenson scored 20 points for Fresno State, and Jervis Cole added 19.