M. Basketball Heads to Reno to Face Nevada on Saturday
Feb. 8, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES (Through games of Wednesday, Feb. 7)
* 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 Nevada will meet for the 18th time Saturday, with the Aztecs owning a 13-4 series lead. The Aztecs have won eight of the last nine meetings between the teams.
* SDSU is 5-3 against the Wolf Pack in Reno, and has won three of the four encounters at Lawlor Events Center since Nevada joined the Mountain West.
* The Aztecs have handed Nevada two of its last eight losses at Lawlor Events Center. Since Feb. 4, 2015, SDSU is 2-1 at Nevada, while the rest of the country is 6-41.
* San Diego State, who defeated No. 12 Gonzaga, 72-70, on Dec. 21, 2017, is looking for consecutive wins over AP Top 25 teams for the first time since a four-game winning streak in 2013-14.
* SDSU is 8-7 against AP Top 25 teams since Nov. 29, 2013. That is the ninth-highest winning percentage in the nation against AP Top 25 teams during that stretch.
* San Diego State is 5-6 in its last 11 games against AP Top 25 teams away from home (includes road and neutral site games).
* Brian Dutcher won his first ever game as a head coach against an AP Top 25 team, when SDSU defeated Gonzaga in December. He became the first coach since Brad Underwood at Stephen F. Austin in 2014, to defeat an AP Top 25 team in his first opportunity.
* The last time a head coach defeated AP Top 25 teams in his first two coaching opportunities was Murray State’s Steve Prohm in 2012.
* On Saturday, first-year head coach Brian Dutcher is looking for his 14th victory as 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).
* SDSU started two freshmen (Jalen McDaniels and Matt Mitchell) and only one senior (Malik Pope) in each of the last two games. The home game vs. Air Force 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.
* Pope has scored eight or more points in 14 consecutive games (13.4 ppg). he is coming off his second double-double of the season and the ninth of his career as he tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes (due to foul trouble) at Fresno State.
* Mitchell bounced back from an off night against Air Force by scoring a team-high 16 points and adding five rebounds at Fresno State. He has reached double figures in five of his last seven games (11.3 ppg) and has multiple assists in four straight games (3.3 apg) for the first time in his career. He also has made a three-pointer in five consecutive games.
* Junior guard Devin Watson, the team leader in scoring, assists and steals, has scored in double figures in 11 of his last 12 outings (12.2 ppg). In his last 11 contests, he is 23-of-43 (53.5 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 for a season in the Dutcher/Steve Fisher era (since 1999-00).
* Junior guard Jeremy Hemsley is playing his best basketball of the season. He has scored in double figures a season-high four consecutive games, averaging 14.3 points and 2.0 assists during that span. He has connected on 22-of-33 shots (66.7 percent) from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from three-point range. The career 1,000-point scorer made his second straight start, sixth start of the season and 62nd start of his career on Tuesday for the injured Trey Kell (ankle).
* McDaniels has reached double figures in scoring in eight of his past 10 games. During that stretch, he is averaging 13.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and is 50-74 (67.6 percent) from the field and 30-of-37 (81.1 percent) from the free-throw line.
* McDaniels is one of five freshmen nationally to average 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and shoot 60 percent or better from the field, and among those five players, he has the fewest turnovers per game (1.0). In addition, his inaugural year productivity is reminiscent of legendary Aztec and NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
* The Aztecs are 5-6 in conference play despite having a scoring margin of +64 in conference games. San Diego State’s average scoring margin in Mountain West play of +5.7 is third in the league.
* Of San Diego State’s nine 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.
* 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.
* 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 23.2 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 25.9 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
* San Diego State is 11-2 this season when owning an advantage in field-goal percentage and 11-1 when attempting more free throws.