M. Basketball to Face Eastern Illinois on Monday
Nov. 18, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES
* The Aztecs opened their homestand on Friday with a convincing 83-52 victory over McNeese. SDSU held the Cowboys to 25 percent shooting in the first half, which included a 1-for-11 effort from behind the three-point arc. San Diego State ended up allowing McNeese to connect on 31.3 percent of its field-goal attempts and 15 percent from three, both of which marked season lows for an Aztec opponent this season.
* Junior Devin Watson enjoyed the best game of his brief SDSU career as the guard went off for a game-high 20 points and eight assists vs. McNeese. He became the fourth Aztec (seventh occurrence) since 1996-97 to put up a stat line of at least 20 points and eight assists, and the first since San Diego State all-time leading scorer Brandon Heath accomplished the feat on Jan. 11, 2006.
* Senior Malik Pope continues to shine in the early going. The forward made 6-of-9 from the field en route to 16 points with nine rebounds. His rebounding totals continue to improve as the season moves along. In the opener vs. San Diego Christian, he pulled down six boards and then followed it with eight at Arizona State before his nine-rebound effort vs. the Cowboys.
* Pope, who ended last season by averaging 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds over his final 14 games, has scored at least 14 points in each of the first three games and is averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds, while shooting 49.7 percent (.487 3FG), over his last 17 outings.
* The game vs. Eastern Illinois is the second of five-game-in-10-day stretch for the Aztecs. After its date with the Panthers, San Diego State will prepare for the Wooden Legacy, which will feature three games in four days. SDSU will open with Sacramento State on Thanksgiving night (10 p.m. PT) before facing either the hosts, Cal State Fullerton, or Georgia on Black Friday. The tournament will wrap up on Sunday at Titan Gym.
* The Aztecs enters the game with Eastern Illinois with no previous history with the Ohio Valley school. In fact, San Diego State has only faced one member in the current OVC alignment -- Murray State. SDSU faced the Racers in the 1941 NAIA title game and lifted the national championship trophy after emerging with the 36-34 victory. More recently, the Aztecs downed Murray State, 87-84, in the 2006-07 season opener at the Shamrock Invitational in Moraga. In that game, Heath stole the ball and made a three-pointer just inside the midcourt line to propel SDSU to the win.
* San Diego State will look to push aside the unfamiliarity with Eastern Illinois and the OVC and look to continue its winning ways at home. The Aztecs have won six straight November home games and have been victorious in 12 of their last 13 in the 11th month of the calendar year.
* SDSU is averaging 80.7 points this season and through three games, its cumulative total is 242 points. This year’s scoring output is the most through three games since the 1996-97 campaign when the Aztecs put up 100 (vs. UC Irvine), 66 (at Oregon) and 80 (vs. Eastern Washington) for a total of 246 points. The school record for points per game for an entire season is 86.9, which occurred in SDSU’s first season as a Division I member (1970-71).