The San Jose State Spartans got a stellar defensive effort Friday night in the first game of the NIU Invitational at DeKalb, Ill., but the offense couldn’t do the same in a 64-61 loss to the Milwaukee Panthers.
San Jose State led 2-0, but then Milwaukee went on a 17-7 run to take an eight-point lead early. The Spartans battled back to close to within two points, 28-26, at intermission.
In the second half, the Spartans came out quickly and led 37-34 before the Panthers went on another run to push the lead to nine with 5:32 remaining. San Jose State chipped away at the lead, but came no closer than the final three-point margin.
Muhammad came off the bench to pace the Spartans with 17 points. Jalen James had 12 points and five assists, Jaleel Williams added 11 points and Brandon Mitchell contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in a reserve role.
San Jose State held Milwaukee (2-1) to just 37.3 percent shooting, including 30.8 percent in the second half, but were undone in part by an 18-11 turnover disadvantage and by their own poor shooting. The Spartans were just 21-for-54 on the game (38.9 percent).
Jordan Aaron led Milwaukee with 16 points, Austin Arians added 14 and Matt Tiby and Steve McWhorter scored 12 apiece.
San Jose State takes on host Northern Illinois (0-1) Saturday at 6 p.m. Pacific. The Huskies were playing James Madison in the second game Friday night.
The NIU Invitational is a four-team round-robin tournament that includes James Madison, Milwaukee, San Jose State and host Northern Illinois and continues through Sunday.