M. Basketball Welcomes Wyoming to Viejas Arena on Wednesday
Feb. 13, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES (Through games of Monday, Feb. 12)
* SDSU will end the regular season with four of its final six games at home.
* San Diego State is currently in eighth place in the conference standings, but is just two games out of a tie for third place.
* Despite its conference record, SDSU still ranks third in the MW in league scoring margin (+3.2), trailing only Nevada (+10.2) and Boise State (+7.1).
* San Diego State is the only team in the Mountain West that in league games, has an edge on its opponents in field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, rebounds and turnovers.
* Senior forward Malik Pope needs just 10 points to become the fourth player - Trey Kell, Jeremy Hemsley and Devin Watson (not all points scored at SDSU) - on San Diego State’s active roster with 1,000 points. He will be the 33rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
* San Diego State has had a freshman lead the team in scoring each of the last three games (Jalen McDaniels vs. Air Force, and Matt Mitchell at Fresno State and at Nevada). It is the first time that freshmen have led the Aztecs in scoring for three straight games since a five-game stretch from Dec. 7-30, 2015. That five-game streak is the longest for the Aztecs in the last 10 seasons.
* SDSU started two freshmen (McDaniels and Mitchell) and only one senior (Pope) in each of the last three 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.
* Against Nevada, McDaniels and Mitchell combined for 23 points and 11 rebounds. Adding fellow classmate Jordan Schakel to the group, the three freshmen accounted for 66 minutes in Saturday’s contest (compared to 29 minutes for the senior class).
* Trey Kell, who has been a first-team all-MW performer in his career, has fought through a series of injuries this season. The most recent, a left ankle sprain, has kept him out of the last three games. He has been unavailable for at least the closing minutes of five of SDSU’s 10 losses this season.
* Pope has scored eight or more points in 15 consecutive games (13.1 ppg). He had nine points and a career-high 13 rebounds in his 116th career game on Saturday at Nevada. He has recorded consecutive games with 10-plus rebounds for the third time in his career (he has never posted three straight games with 10 or more boards).
* In seven career games against the Cowboys, Pope has 71 points (10.1), 29 rebounds (4.1), six assists, six steals and six blocked shots.
* McDaniels had 11 points and eight rebounds on Saturday at Nevada and has now reached double figures in scoring in nine of his past 11 games. During that stretch, he is averaging 12.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and is 54-85 (63.5 percent) from the field and 32-of-39 (82.1 percent) from the free-throw line.
* McDaniels is one of eight freshmen nationally to average 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and shoot 55 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.
* Mitchell tallied 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field at Nevada and now has double-digit scoring efforts in his last two games and in six of his last eight contests (11.4 ppg). He has at least one three-pointer in six straight contests, making 10-of-25 (40.0 pct.) during that stretch.
* Junior guard Devin Watson, the team leader in scoring, assists and steals, has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 13 outings (12.8 ppg). In his last 12 contests, he is 25-of-49 (51.0 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 in four of his last five games, averaging 13.0 points and 2.4 assists during that span. He has connected on 24-of-44 shots (54.5 percent) from the field and 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from three-point range. The career 1,000-point scorer made his third straight start, seventh start of the season and 63rd start of his career on Saturday at Nevada for the injured Kell.
* Of San Diego State’s 10 losses this season, six 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, 13.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 25.3 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.4 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.