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.
It was the Matadors (7-3) who limited San Jose State to 47.6% shooting, only the second team to hold the Spartans under 50% this season.
It was the Matadors who forced 21 turnovers, the most San Jose State (7-6) has committed in a game this season.
And it was the Matadors who outrebounded the Spartans, 30-28.
“I was very, very pleased with what our defense did tonight,” 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 its last six games, Northridge had little difficulty solving the Spartans’ intricate mix of defenses.
It was the most points that San Jose State has allowed this season. The Matadors also made 50% of their field goals (26 of 52).
The only other team to accomplish that against the Spartans was California.
Spartan Coach Steve Barnes, whose team finished second to in the Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii last week, was impressed.
“I thought Northridge was one of the two or three best teams we’ve faced all year,” he 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 penetrating, it was Carl Holmes or Brian Heinle connecting from long range.
Larry finished with 16 points, including four dunks, Heinle had 14 points and Holmes 12.
“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 Spartans’ leading scorer, finished with 18 including four three-point baskets. But he spent most of the second half in foul trouble before fouling out late in the game.