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San Jose State leading scorer James Kinney suspended for season

Feb 9, 2013, 10:44 AM EDT

James Kinney AP

San Jose State senior guard James Kinney has already been forced to sit eight straight games, but now has been suspended for the remainder of the 2012-13 season, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

Kinney, who had been averaging 20.6 points per game before his suspension, would be one of the nation’s Top 15 scorers if he had played enough games to qualify. Since he has been out, San Jose State has lost eight straight games and fallen from 3-1 in WAC play, its best start ever as a member of the conference, to 3-9.

According to the report, it is likely related to academics.

“It’s affected our team in powerful ways,” SJSU coach George Nessman told the paper. “When you have a player who’s an elite scorer, the game gets easier for everybody else. And now the game’s harder on everybody else.

“Coaches are fond of saying, ‘I’m going to coach the guys I have,’ and that’s what I’m doing. I have no choice. But you can’t ignore the elephant in the room. It’s obvious. It doesn’t take much for people to look and say, ‘Hmm, when did they start struggling?’ ”

The Spartans managed just 36 points Friday night in a 27-point loss to Utah State.

“During a college basketball season, there’s always going to be ups and downs, and it’s really about how you respond to adversity,” junior forward Chris Cunningham told the paper after the game. “Up to this point, we haven’t responded very well.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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