M. Hoops Returns to Action Saturday vs. Air Force
Feb. 2, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES Through games of Tuesday, Jan. 30
* The teams, which have played at least once every year since 2000, are meeting for the first time in the 2017-18 campaign. The Aztecs and Falcons will play once again 19 days following the first encounter this season at USAF Academy, Colo.
* Saturday will mark the 78th meeting between the teams with San Diego State owning a 54-23 advantage in the series. The Aztecs’ 54 victories are the third-most against any opponent (Fresno State 61 and UC Santa Barbara 59).
* The Aztecs have won seven of the last eight meetings (7-1) and 15 of the last 18 games (15-3) against the Academy.
* At home, SDSU owns a 31-6 advantage in the series, including a 16-3 edge at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs have won 12 straight games played between the teams in America’s Finest City by an average score of 60.7-47.2.
* San Diego State’s remarkable tough-luck season continued last Saturday with an 88-78 loss at UNLV. Junior guard Jeremy Hemsley scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting for SDSU and became the 32nd Aztec to reach 1,000 career points (1,005).
* Although the margin ended up at 10 points, SDSU and UNLV were tied at the half and the Aztecs trailed by just two points with under five minutes to play.
* SDSU remained close despite senior co-captain Trey Kell suffering a sprained left ankle prior to the game’s first media timeout. He is doubtful for Saturday.
* The loss snapped SDSU’s 11-game win streak against the Runnin’ Rebels and a seven-game win streak over UNLV at Thomas & Mack Center. Both streaks were the longest nationally against the Rebels in at least 22 seasons.
* Of San Diego State’s eight losses this season, five have come in games in which SDSU was tied or led at halftime, four have come by four points or fewer, and four have come when SDSU led with five minutes to play in the game.
* With five of SDSU’s eight losses coming in games in which the Aztecs were tied or led after 20 minutes, only four teams in the nation have a higher percentage of losses in games in which they have been even or ahead after 20 minutes -- Tennessee, Old Dominion, New Mexico State and Stony Brook.
* The Aztecs have lost four of their last five games despite being outscored by just two points during that stretch (403-405).
* As previously noted, Hemsley came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points at UNLV last Saturday. He has played particularly well over his last two games, scoring 30 points and adding five assists and four rebounds in 51 minutes. Likely to get the start Saturday for the ailing Kell, Hemsley is 12-of-18 (66.7 percent) from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range in his last two contests.
* Freshman forward Matt Mitchell reached double figures for the 12th time in the last 17 games, scoring 11 points with eight rebounds and three assists at UNLV. He is 24-of-42 (57.1 percent) from the floor with six treys in his last five games.
* Freshman Jalen McDaniels saw his double-figure scoring streak snapped at seven games when he tallied nine points at UNLV last Saturday. Nonetheless, his numbers over the past eight games are quite impressive - 13.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 40-of-60 FGs (66.7 percent).
* McDaniels is one of seven freshmen nationally to average 9.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and shoot 59 percent or better from the field, and among those seven players, he has the fewest turnovers per game (0.8). In addition, his inaugural year productivity is reminiscent of legendary Aztec and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
* Junior forward Max Montana has scored in double figures in consecutive games for the first time this season. He has 31 points in his last two games, which matches the highest two-game total of his career, and is 17-of-37 (45.9 percent) over his last seven games.
* Senior forward Malik Pope has scored eight or more points in 12 consecutive games (14.1 ppg) and is 67-of-127 from the field (52.8 percent) from the floor during that span. He has reached double figures in a team-high six consecutive games and needs just 38 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
* Junior guard Devin Watson saw his season-high nine-game streak of reaching double digits in scoring snapped at UNLV. Despite that, he had a solid performance with nine points, four assists and four rebounds. In his last nine games, he is averaging 13.3 points, 4.9 assists and has connected on 18-of-35 three-point field goals (51.4 percent).
* The Aztecs’ freshman class of McDaniels, Mitchell and Jordan Schakel has had a tremendous season and put together a string of impressive performances. For the season, the trio is averaging 23.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 25.7 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists.