No. 6/7 #AztecMBB Heads to The Pit to Face UNM
Feb. 20, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
The two programs that have accounted for a least a share of the last four Mountain West regular-season titles and the last four league tournament championships meet on Saturday night in Albuquerque, as No. 6/7 San Diego State (23-2 overall; 12-1 MW) faces New Mexico (20-5; 11-2 MW).
The conference-leading Aztecs and second-place Lobos will square off in the first of two meetings in a 15-day period at The Pit on Saturday night beginning at 8 p.m. MT (7 p.m. PT). The game will be shown to a national audience on ESPN2 and can be heard in southern California on The Mighty 1090.
On Tuesday, San Diego State won for the 22nd time in 23 outings and ran its homecourt win streak to 12 with a 60-45 victory over Utah State. The Aztecs led for the final 35:11 of the contest, had a double-digit lead the final 29:17, and led by as many as 25 points before settling for the 15-point win.
Redshirt freshman Matt Shrigley led San Diego State in scoring of the first time in his career with a game-high 15 points on the strength of a career-high four three-point field goals. Senior forward Josh Davis narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Skylar Spencer added 10 points (5-7 field goals) and a game-high four blocked shots. All-America candidate Xavier Thames scored a season-low four points, but had a game-high five assists and no turnovers in 30 minutes of action. The senior point guard has now gone 124 consecutive minutes without a turnover, dating back to the first half of the game against Nevada on Feb. 8.
The Aztec defense returned to form, limiting the high-scoring Aggies to 45 points and 34.0-percent field-goal shooting, while forcing 15 turnovers and blocking nine shots.
San Diego State now enters the final five games of the regular season with unenviable task of having three road games, which includes contests at New Mexico, which is 79-9 at home since Jan. 10, 2009, and at UNLV, which is 47-10 at home since the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The combined conference record of the five opponents remaining on SDSU's schedule is 35-29, and that includes a home game against San José State (1-13).
San Diego State continues to be one of the nation's top defensive teams, which leads to an interesting showdown on Saturday between the Aztecs' defense and New Mexico's very efficient offense (see chart to the right).
Among the national categories in which San Diego State ranks in the top 15, include 1st in free-throws attempted margin per game (+11.1), 2nd in effective field-goal percentage per game (42.1), 3rd in points allowed per game (56.6), 4th in opponent field goal percentage (37.6), 8th in three-point field-goal percentage allowed (28.4), 8th in opponent free-throws attempted per game (16.1), 10th in two-point field-goal percentage allowed (13.9) and 14th in turnovers per game (10.1).
Following the game, San Diego State will play on Tuesday for the third consecutive week when the Aztecs return home to put their 39-game win streak against teams from the state of California on the line in a contest against San José State.