M. Basketball to Play at Fresno State on Tuesday
Feb. 4, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES (Through games of Saturday, Feb. 3)
* After Saturday’s game at Nevada, SDSU will end the regular season with four of its final six games at home.
* San Diego State and Fresno State will meet for the 115th time. It is the most frequently played game in school history and SDSU’s 61 series victories are the most against any opponent.
* The games in Fresno have been particularly close with the last three contests decided by a total of six points. Last season, SDSU snapped a two-game losing streak at Save Mart Center with a 70-67 win (Trey Kell scored 22 points and Jeremy Hemsley added 13 points).
* Tuesday’s game features two of the teams in a crowded area of the conference standings. Fresno State (6-5; tied for 5th place) and San Diego State (5-5; tied for 7th place) are part of a group of six teams, between 3rd and 8th place, separated by just a game and a half in the standings.
* On Tuesday, first-year head coach Brian Dutcher is looking for his 14th victory as the SDSU head coach, but the 400th as part of the Aztec coaching staff. He has been on the sidelines for 399 of the program’s 1,455 victories (27.4 percent).
* San Diego State continued its dominant play at home last Saturday, posting a 31-point victory over Air Force (81-50). The Aztecs led wire-to-wire and won for the 63rd straight time when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
* In its last six home games, the Aztecs have gone 5-1 and have outscored its opponents by 104 points (17.4 ppg). The lone blemish during that stretch was a 77-73 setback to Fresno State on Jan. 17.
* The Aztecs limited Air Force to 50 points (17.4 points below its season average) and to just 32.8 percent shooting from the field.
* Freshman Jalen McDaniels recorded his fifth double-double of the season, with a game-high 16 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds. He was 7-for-10 from the field.
* SDSU started two freshmen (McDaniels and Matt Mitchell) and only one senior (Malik Pope) in the game. It marked the first time the Aztecs started more freshmen than seniors in a conference game since Feb. 24, 2010, when SDSU started two freshmen (Kawhi Leonard and Chase Tapley) and no seniors.
* The Aztecs are 5-5 in conference play despite having a scoring margin of +81 in conference games. San Diego State’s average scoring margin in Mountain West play of +8.1 is third in the league.
* 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 five 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, Tennessee, Florida State, New Mexico State and Towson.
* Junior guard Jeremy Hemsley is playing his best basketball of the season. He has tied a season-best by scoring in double figures in three consecutive games, averaging 14.7 points and 2.3 assists during that span. He has connected on 17-of-26 shots (65.4 percent) from the field and 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from three-point range. The career 1,000-point scorer is expected to make his second straight start, sixth start of the season and 62nd start of his career for injured Trey Kell (ankle) on Tuesday night.
* McDaniels has reached double figures in scoring in eight of his past nine games. During that stretch, he is averaging 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and is 47-70 (67.1 percent) from the field and 30-of-37 (81.1 percent) from the free-throw line.
* McDaniels is one of six freshmen nationally to average 9.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and shoot 60 percent or better from the field, and among those six 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 three consecutive games for the first time in more than a year. In his last three games, he has 44 points (highest three-game total in his 74-game career) and 13 rebounds. He has at least one trey in eight straight games, connecting on 20-44 attempts (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc during that stretch.
* Senior forward Malik Pope has scored eight or more points in 13 consecutive games (13.7 ppg) and is 70-of-132 from the field (53.0 percent) from the floor during that span. He needs just 29 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
* Junior guard Devin Watson, the team leader in scoring, assists and steals, has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 outings (13.0 ppg). In his last 10 contests, he is 21-of-39 (53.8 percent) from three-point range. The only SDSU player in the last 14 years to average at least four assists a game in a season was Xavier Thames (4.1 apg in 2011-12). Watson is looking to become the first Aztec player to average at least 13 points and four assists per game in the Brian Dutcher/Steve Fisher era (since 1999-00).
* 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 23.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 25.9 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
* The freshmen class accounted for a season-high total of 78 minutes against Air Force on Saturday.
* San Diego State has been extremely unfortunate this season. The Aztecs have lost five games in which SDSU had a lead in the final five minutes of the game and is 1-5 in games decided by four points or less.
* San Diego State is 11-2 this season when owning an advantage in field-goal percentage and 11-1 when attempting more free throws.