Men's Hoops to Face UNLV Saturday Afternoon at Viejas Arena
Feb. 16, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES (Through games of Thursday, Feb. 15)
* The Aztecs have been particularly strong at home, posting a 10-2 record at Viejas Arena this season and a +19.8 scoring margin. SDSU’s margin of +18.7 in conference home games is the best in the Mountain West.
* SDSU has won three straight home games by a combined margin of 60 points.
* San Diego State is currently in eighth place in the conference standings, but is just two games out of a tie for third place.
* Saturday marks the 69th all-time meeting between the teams with UNLV owning a 36-32 series lead. The Aztecs once trailed the series 26-6 (SDSU is 26-10 since that time).
* San Diego State has won four straight home games against UNLV and have won eight of the last nine contests played between the teams at Viejas Arena.
* Brian Dutcher has been on the SDSU sidelines for 28 of SDSU’s 32 victories in the series. Those 28 wins have come against eight different UNLV head coaches (Bill Bayno, Max Good, Charlie Spoonhour, Jay Spoonhour, Lon Kruger, Dave Rice, Todd Simon and Marvin Menzies).
* The game features a pair of head coaches that served as assistant coaches for SDSU. Dutcher had several titles, the final being associate head coach/head coach in waiting, from 1999-2017, while UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies was an assistant at SDSU from 1999-2003.
* On Wednesday, San Diego State built a 23-point second-half advantage before settling for an 87-77 victory over Wyoming. The Aztecs shot 53.2 percent from the field and have won 64 straight games overall and 71 straight at home when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor.
* Senior forward Mailk Pope scored 10 points and added a team-high nine rebounds against the Cowboys. With his 10-point performance, he became the fourth active Aztec player to reach the 1,000-point plateau. The Aztecs are one of only five teams nationally to have at least four active players with 1,000 career points.
* Dutcher posted his 400th career victory as a member of the men’s basketball program at San Diego State (14 as a head coach and 386 serving as an assistant to Steve Fisher).
* Sophomore forward Nolan Narain, who had scored 12 points in 12 conference games this season, connected on 8-of-10 shots en route to a career-high 18 points in 18 minutes of action against Wyoming.
* Freshman forward Jalen McDaniels had 16 points, on 6-of-9 shooting in the victory on Wednesday. The freshman has now reached double figures in 10 of his last 12 games. During that stretch, he is averaging 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and is 60-94 (63.8 percent) from the field and 36-of-45 (80.0 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 eight 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.
* Freshman Jordan Schakel enjoyed his most productive game as an Aztec on Wednesday, scoring a career-high 14 points on the strength of 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. He added five rebounds and two assists on the evening. In his last 11 games, he has connected on 14-of-30 (46.7 percent) from three.
* The third member of the freshman class, forward Matt Mitchell scored only two points against Wyoming after leading the team in scoring each of the previous two games. Nonetheless, Mitchell is averaging 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists while connecting on 49.3 percent from the field during his past nine games.
* San Diego State has had a freshman or sophomore lead the team in scoring each of the last four games (sophomore Nolan Narain vs. Wyoming, freshman Jalen McDaniels vs. Air Force and freshman Matt Mitchell at Fresno State and at Nevada).
* Senior guard 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, kept him out of three straight games, before making his return against Wyoming. On Wednesday, Kell played 26 minutes, and had six points, four rebounds, six assists and no turnovers.
* Kell’s six-assist, zero-turnover performance marked just the 19th time in the last 22 seasons that an SDSU player has recorded a game with at least six assists and no turnovers in a game, and the second time Kell has done it (7 assists, 0 turnovers vs. UNLV, Feb. 19, 2017). Only four players in the last 22 seasons have multiple 6+ assist, 0 turnover games for SDSU -- D.J. Gay (3), Chase Tapley (2), Deandre Moore (2) and Kell (2).
* Kell has been unavailable for at least the closing minutes of five of SDSU’s 10 losses this season, including missing the final 35 minutes of the game at UNLV with a sprained left ankle.
* In nine career games against the Rebels, Kell has 90 points (10.0), 37 rebounds (4.1), 20 assists (2.2) and eight steals.
* Malik Pope has scored eight or more points in 16 consecutive games (12.9 ppg). He had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds in his 117th career game on Wednesday against Wyoming. He has 32 rebounds in his last three games (10.7 rpg).
* Junior guard Devin Watson, the team leader in scoring, assists and steals, has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 13 outings (12.9 ppg). In his last 13 contests, he is 27-of-55 (49.1 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, who is averaging 13.1 points and 4.04 assists per game, 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).
* 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 1-4 in games decided by four points or less.
* The Aztecs’ freshman class of Jalen McDaniels, Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel has had a tremendous season and put together a string of impressive performances. For the season, the trio is averaging 23.6 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 25.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
* San Diego State is 12-2 this season when owning an advantage in field-goal percentage and 11-1 when attempting more free throws.