Men's Basketball Opens Wooden Legacy vs. Sacramento State
Nov. 22, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES
* The Aztecs come into the game riding a two-game winning streak after dismissing McNeese last Friday and Eastern Illinois on Monday. SDSU used a 31-point performance from true freshman Matt Mitchell and a double-double from Malik Pope (17 points, 11 rebounds) to cruise past the Panthers, 94-63.
* Mitchell, who was starting his third career game and had made just two of his 18 field-goal attempts (0-10 3FG) entering the EIU game, torched the Panthers in the second half. The Riverside native exploded for 26 second-half points on the strength of 8-for-10 shooting (6-8 3FG). His final line: career-high 31 points (10-14 FG, 7-11 3FG, 4-5 FT), 6 rebounds, career-high 3 assists, career-high 3 steals.
* Mitchell’s seven three-pointers were tied for the second most nationally, tied for the fourth most in school history, the most by an SDSU freshman and the second most by an Aztec in Viejas Arena history.
* Mitchell’s 31 points were the most by a San Diego State freshman since 2003 (Evan Burns - 31 vs. New Mexico), the fourth most nationally by a freshman this season and the fifth 30-point performance in Division I by a freshman in 2017-18.
* Mitchell’s outburst overshadowed a number of solid performances, which included Trey Kell’s 14 points, five rebounds and career-high-tying seven assists, a 10-point, 3-assist effort from Devin Watson and Nolan Narain’s seven-point performance on 3-of-3 shooting. Narain has made 11 of his 13 field-goal attempts this season while averaging 14.8 minutes.
* 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 four games and is averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, while shooting 50.3 percent (.500 3FG), over his last 18 outings. He has also watched his single-game rebounding totals increase in each of his first four games, pulling down 6, 8, 9 and 11 boards leading in to the Sacramento State contest.
* San Diego State is scoring at a pace not seen on Montezuma Mesa in some time. SDSU is averaging 84 points and has scored at least 68 points in every game this season. In 2016-17, the Aztecs averaged 68.5 points and scored more than 80 just four times last year, including once after Dec. 24, 2016. The last time SDSU finished with a scoring average of at least 80 was in 1984-85 (80.4). 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).
* As the points have come at a rapid pace, it has not come at the expense of the defense. The Aztecs are allowing 64.2 points on 37.6 percent shooting and just 25.2 percent from behind the arc. SDSU’s field-goal percentage defense would be the second-best effort in the school’s Division I history if the season ended today. Its three-point field-goal percentage defense, would sit atop the record book by a wide margin. The current school record for three-point defense is 28.8 percent.
* The game vs. the Hornets is the third of a five-games-in-10-days stretch for the Aztecs. After its date with Sacramento State, San Diego State will face either the hosts, Cal State Fullerton, or Georgia on Black Friday. The tournament will wrap up on Sunday.