The final two minutes were a seesaw battle, starting with a free throw by Charles Garcia (Los Angeles, Calif.) with 1:45 left to give SeattleU an 85-84 lead. Adrian Oliver made two free throws to give the Spartans a one-point advantage, followed by empty possessions for each team.
Alex Jones (Phoenix, Ariz.) stole the ball with 30.7 seconds left to give SeattleU a chance at retaking the lead. Jones hit a jumper with 15 seconds left to put the Redhawks on top, 87-86, but Mac Peterson drew a foul and made both free throws to allow the Spartans to go back on top, 88-87, with 10 seconds left.
During Peterson's free throws, San Jose State called timeout to set its defense, but it also allowed SeattleU to draw up the play, and Olson found himself wide open in the corner for the winning shot. The Spartans put the ball in Oliver's hands for one final attempt, but the Redhawk defense swarmed him, and Olson was credited with the steal that sealed the victory.
Garcia scored 17 of his team-high 20 points in the second half, plus he pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists. Jones finished with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with three rebounds and three steals, and Cervante Burrell (Sacramento, Calif.) contributed 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
San Jose State (13-13) took the early lead, extending it to as much as 13 points at 29-16 on a dunk by Chris Oakes with nine minutes remaining in the first half. Garcia hit back-to-back shots to start an 11-2 run that cut the Spartan lead to four (31-27) with 5:44 left in the first half, but San Jose State responded with seven unanswered points to bring their lead back to 11 points.
SeattleU kept battling back, outscoring the Spartans 11-4 in the final four-and-a-half minutes of the first half, punctuated by a three-pointer from Jones. The Redhawks were down by only four (42-38) at halftime despite shooting 42.9 percent (15-of-35) from the field while San Jose State hit 60.0 percent (15-of-25) of its field goal attempts.
The Redhawks tied the game early in the second half, but San Jose State scored eight unanswered points to hold a 56-48 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the second half. SeattleU responded with six straight points to pull into a 60-60 tie, and Aaron Broussard (Federal Way, Wash.) answered a three-pointer by Peterson with one of his own for a 63-63 tie with 9:50 left.
After the Spartans opened another five-point lead, a layup by Jones and a traditional three-point play from Garcia forced another tie, and two free throws by Peter Harris (Seattle, Wash.) allowed SeattleU to take its first lead of the game. With less than four minutes remaining, Mike Boxley (Mountlake Terrace, Wash.) hit a basket and Chris Gweth (Beaverton, Ore.) made two free throws to give the Redhawks their biggest lead at 84-79, but Robert Owens hit a three-pointer and Oliver made two free throws, setting up the final two minutes of action.
Broussard earned nine points, three rebounds, and five steals, Olson had a perfect shooting night in compiling eight points, as did Harris in contributing seven points, three rebounds, and two assists. Boxley also scored seven points, all in the second half at key times in the game, while Gweth collected four points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Oliver shot 9-of-14 from the field and 17-of-18 from the free throw line for 35 points, the most by a SeattleU opponent this season, while Owens hit four three-pointers in scoring 20 points and Peterson finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Oakes earned 10 points, three rebounds, and four blocked shots, and Justin Graham added five points, five rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.
The shooting was reversed in the second half, with SeattleU shooting 60.6 percent (20-of-33) from the field and San Jose State hitting 44 percent (11-of-25) of its field goal attempts in the second half. SeattleU pulled down 37 rebounds, including 18 offensive boards, and wore down the Spartan starters who accounted for all of the team's points in 178 of the 200 minutes played.
Seattle University (14-14) heads back to Seattle to prepare for the final two home games of the regular season, beginning with a contest against Cal State Bakersfield Saturday, Feb. 27, beginning at 7:10 p.m. at KeyArena at Seattle Center. Dave Grosby and Gary Hill, Jr., will broadcast the action from courtside on 710 ESPN Seattle beginning with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m.