M. Basketball Opens Two-Game Road Trip at Air Force on Wednesday
Feb. 19, 2018
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES (Through games of Sunday, Feb. 18)
* Following a pair of dominating home victories last week, San Diego State is set to travel for its final regular-season road contests of the season, beginning Wednesday at Air Force. The game will be shown nationally by CBS Sports Network and can heard on radio on 101.5 KGB, XTRA 1360 and FOX Sports IE 1350 in Southern California, and on the iHeart Radio app.
* This week, San Diego State is looking to win against teams and in locations that it lost last season - at Air Force (67-70) and at San José State (71-76).
* San Diego State has won eight of its last nine games against Air Force, although the Falcons defeated SDSU at Clune Arena last season.
* The Falcons are 7-5 at home this year and have consecutive home wins over Colorado State (78-73) and New Mexico (100-92).
* San Diego State followed up a dominating performance against Wyoming (built a 23-point second-half advantage before settling for a 10-point win) last Wednesday by defeating UNLV by 38 points (94-56) on Saturday.
* San Diego State is currently in seventh place in the conference standings, but is just one game in back of fourth place and two games out of third place.
* The Aztecs scored 181 points in their last two games (90.5 ppg). That is the highest total for the program in conference games in Mountain West history.
* In its last five victories, San Diego State has outscored the opposition by 134 points (26.8 points per game).
* Freshman forward Matt Mitchell scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc against UNLV. In his last 10 games, he is averaging 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists while connecting on 52.4 percent.
* Freshman forward Jalen McDaniels, who was named Mountain West Player of the Week on Monday, posted his sixth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while adding three assists and two steals in Saturday’s win. The freshman has now reached double figures in 11 of his last 13 games. During that stretch, he is averaging 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and is 68-108 (63.0 percent) from the field and 38-of-47 (80.9 percent) from the free-throw line.
* In wins over Wyoming and UNLV, McDaniels averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals, while shooting 60.9 percent from the field (14-23) and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line (6-8). Additionally, the forward committed only one turnover in 51 minutes (25.5 mpg).
* McDaniels is one of five freshmen nationally (and the only freshman in the Mountain West) to average 10.0 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.
* Senior forward Mailk Pope scored 17 points, and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots against the Rebels. He connected on 8-of-13 attempts from the field and has at least nine rebounds in four consecutive games (10.3 rpg). He has dished out an assist in a career-high seven consecutive games.
* Pope has scored eight or more points in 17 consecutive games (13.2 ppg).
* Junior forward Max Montana had 17 points and tied a career-high with five three-point field goals in the win over UNLV. In his last 12 games, Montana is averaging 9.8 points and has connected on 28-of-64 (43.8 percent) from three.
* Freshman Jordan Schakel followed up his most productive game as an Aztec on Wednesday against the Wyoming with another solid performance against UNLV. He scored a career-high 14 points on the strength of 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc and added five rebounds against the Cowboys. Against UNLV, he hit two treys, had six points, three rebounds and a career-high two assists. In his last 12 games, he has connected on 16-of-35 (45.7 percent) from three.
* San Diego State has had a freshman or sophomore lead the team in scoring each of the last five games (sophomore Nolan Narain vs. Wyoming, freshman Jalen McDaniels vs. Air Force and freshman Matt Mitchell at Fresno State, at Nevada and vs. UNLV).
* 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. Against the Cowboys, Kell played 26 minutes, and had six points, four rebounds, six assists and no turnovers. Versus UNLV, he had two points, two rebounds, six assists and two steals in 21 minutes. Since his return, he has played 47 minutes, with eight points, six rebounds, 12 assists, three steals and just one turnover.
* Kell’s six-assist, zero-turnover performance against Wyoming 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.
* Junior guard Devin Watson has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 14 outings (12.6 ppg). In his last 14 contests, he is 26-of-52 (50.0 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, who is averaging 12.8 points and 4.0 assists per game, is looking to become the first Aztec player to average at least 12.5 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 24.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. In conference play, the classmates are averaging 27.2 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
* San Diego State is 13-2 this season when owning an advantage in field-goal percentage and 11-1 when attempting more free throws.