SAN JOSE -- James Kinney had an off night for San Jose State, but the Spartans' supporting cast delivered in a 71-64 victory over New Orleans on Tuesday at the Event Center.

Kinney, who is eighth in the nation and leads the Western Athletic Conference in scoring, scored a season-low nine points. He made just 3 of 18 shots from the field and went 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

But the rest of San Jose State's starting five all finished in double figures, led by Louis Garrett's 14 points.

"When any team becomes overly reliant on a particular individual to do anything, you have a problem," Spartans coach George Nessman said. "We have bent over backwards as a team and a staff to really inculcate in our guys that notion that this is a team."

Alex Brown finished with a career-high 13 points and added eight rebounds for San Jose State (9-6). Chris Cunningham had 11 points and nine rebounds, and D.J. Brown scored 13 points.

It was the Spartans' fourth win in their past five games and avenges a season-opening 72-68 loss to New Orleans (3-11).

"It was big, because they beat us the first time so we kind of had a bone to pick with them," Cunningham said. "It really was preparing us for what we've got ahead."

What's next for SJSU is a road showdown Friday night at first-place Utah State (13-1, 4-0 WAC).


Advertisement

"Utah State, in my view, is an opportunity game for us," Nessman said. "Very few WAC teams have won up there. Any team that does get a win up there, it's a huge step in a direction. ... You go to Utah State, if you're successful, you've done something that likely the other teams aren't going to do. If you're not successful, you're not buried."

The Spartans led for virtually the entire game against the Privateers, whose last advantage was 6-4 in the first couple minutes of the game. SJSU pushed the lead to 11 points, but never shook New Orleans.

That was in large part because of struggles at the free throw line, where the Spartans finished 14 of 27. The Privateers also won the rebounding battle 52-39.

The key for San Jose State was ball security. After committing 20 turnovers in the season-opening loss, the Spartans turned it over just nine times in this victory.

"The first game we were really overwhelmed by the ball pressure," Cunningham said. "I think it being the first game there were a lot of jitters and they played so up-tempo. Tonight we were prepared for the heavy ball pressure."

Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.