So much for the stingy San Jose State defense.
San Jose State entered its nonconference game against Cal State Northridge with the top-ranked defense in the country.
But it was the Matadors who looked like the defensive stalwarts in their 71-53 victory Thursday night over the Spartans before 810 at the Matadome.
The Matadors (7-3) limited San Jose State to a 47.6% shooting percentage, only the second team to hold the Spartans under 50% this season.
And the Matadors forced 21 turnovers, the most San Jose State (7-6) has committed in a game this season.
The Matadors also outrebounded the Spartans, 30-28.
“I was very, very pleased with what our defense did,” Coach Bobby Braswell said. “That’s what we have to do to be successful. We held another team under 50%.”
In winning for the fifth time in six games, Northridge had little difficulty solving the Spartans’ intricate mix of defenses.
It was the most points that San Jose State has allowed in a game this season. The Matadors made 50% of their shots (26 of 52).
The only other team to accomplish that against the Spartans was California.
That left an indelible impression on Coach Steve Barnes of San Jose, whose team finished second to Colorado State in the Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii last week.
“I thought Northridge was one of the two or three best teams we’ve faced all year,” Barnes said.
San Jose State dared the Matadors to penetrate its defense and Northridge, which defeated the Spartans for the first time in three attempts, was up to the challenge.
When it wasn’t Andre Larry or Jeff Parris on the inside, it was Carl Holmes or Brian Heinle connecting from longer range.
Larry finished with 16 points, including four dunks, Heinle had 14 points and Holmes 12.
Larry led the Matadors with nine rebounds.
“We just penetrated like we’ve done all year,” Holmes said. “We saw some of their games and we thought their defense was a little soft.”
Billy Landram, the leading scorer for the Spartans, finished with 18 points, including four three-point baskets.
But he spent most of the second half in foul trouble before fouling out late in the game.
Darnell Williams finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans and R.J. Powell, a former Pepperdine player, had 11 points and eight assists.