Men's Basketball Returns to Action Thursday vs. No. 12/15 Gonzaga
Dec. 19, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
NEWS AND NOTES Through games of Monday, Dec. 18
* The Aztecs look to bounce back from a gut-wrenching 63-62 home loss to California. SDSU rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to take a four-point lead with 50 seconds to play, but turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch ultimately derailed its attempt at a successful comeback.
* SDSU for the first time since the second game of the season had all 11 scholarship players available, but even that was short-lived. Trey Kell, who missed the previous two games (ankle), suffered a quad contusion in the first half, but managed to play 15 minutes. The injury, however, limited the senior co-captain to three second-half minutes. Kell entered the contest vs. Cal with the Aztecs’ second-highest scoring average (13.6).
* Malik Pope led the way for SDSU vs. the Golden Bears with a season- and game-high 20 points and eight rebounds. The senior forward and team co-captain opened the contest by scoring the Aztecs’ first 13 points (5-5 FG, 1-1 3FG, 2-2 FT). True freshman forward Matt Mitchell contributed 13 points and a career-high six assists, and junior guard Jeremy Hemsley added 13 points of his own in 26 minutes off the bench.
* San Diego State enters the Gonzaga game at 7-3 even though it has had all 11 scholarship players from start to finish in just one game -- the season opener vs. San Diego Christian. In game No. 2 at Arizona State, Max Montana hyperextended his knee in the second half and missed the next six games (only played four minutes in the seventh). In the game vs. Washington State at the Wooden Legacy, Pope suffered a foot injury that sent him to the locker room in the first half before returning to log 14 first-half minutes. He did not play in the second half. Later in that game, Kell rolled his ankle with SDSU ahead by five points with 6:38 to play. When he returned, the Aztecs trailed by one point with 3:58 left and never recovered in a 93-86 loss. Then with everyone available against California, Kell went down once again as described above.
* The match-up between SDSU and Gonzaga will feature two of the top programs nationally over the last seven-plus seasons. The Bulldogs own the top winning percentage nationally since the start of 2010-11, and the Aztecs rank 12th over the same time period. The complete list is below.
* This game also features one of the top road/neutral teams in the country against one of the top home teams in the nation. Since the start of the 2005-06 campaign, Gonzaga ranks first nationally in road/neutral winning percentage at .749 (182-61). As for San Diego State, it owns the 15th-best home winning percentage during the same time frame. The Aztecs have won home games at an 87.4-percent clip (173-25).
* San Diego State, champions of the Mountain West a league-record 10 times, opens conference action next week when it is set to begin a three-game-in-seven-day stretch that will take them to three different states at three different elevations. The Aztecs will head to Wyoming (7,200 feet) on Dec. 27, before returning home to play host to Utah State at sea level on Dec. 30. Then after spending New Year’s in America’s Finest City, SDSU will head to Fort Collins to play Colorado State at 5,003 feet on Jan. 2.