Men's Basketball Set to Play Host to Utah State on Saturday

Dec. 28, 2017

SAN DIEGO -

SDSU Men's Basketball Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | SDSU Broadcast Flip Card Get Acrobat Reader

NEWS AND NOTES Through games of Wednesday, Dec. 27
* San Diego State will open its home portion of its Mountain West schedule on Saturday night when it plays host to Utah State on Steve Fisher Court at Viejas Arena. The game will stream exclusively on ESPN3 beginning at 7 p.m. PT. Ted Leitner will provide the details on radio (101.5 KGB, XTRA 1360, FOX Sports IE 1350) in Southern California and on the iHeart Radio app.

* The Aztecs are looking to rid themselves of the aftertaste of Wednesday’s 82-69 road loss at Wyoming. SDSU led at halftime, 40-37, and was up, 48-43, in the opening minutes of the second half. The Cowboys, however, shot 55.2 percent from the floor after halftime, helped by a 7-for-12 effort from behind the three-point arc to emerge victorious.

* San Diego State played the game at Wyoming without the services of junior Jeremy Hemsley due to an illness. The guard went through warm-ups, but found himself in the locker room by the time the game started. Hemsley entered the contest having started 60 of 80 career games played and a career scoring average of 11.9.

* Senior Malik Pope led the Aztecs with one of his best performances of his career. The forward and team co-captain scored a season-high 21 points on a personal-best 10 made field goals and was 10-for-18 on his two-point field-goal attempts (.556). Pope also added nine rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal in 35 minutes.

* Junior Devin Watson broke out of a shooting slump to contribute 13 points in Laramie. The guard from Oceanside was 4-for-8 from the floor, including a 3-for-4 effort from three-point distance, after he entered the game having made just six of his 29 field-goal attempts (2-14 3FG) in his previous three games. Watson also contributed a team-high four assists.

* Freshman Matt Mitchell continued his strong start to his college career, reaching double figures in scoring for the eighth time in nine games after he finished with 11 points. Averaging 11.3 points for the season, Mitchell has been a reliable threat from downtown, knocking down a team-best 23 treys. On Wednesday at Wyoming, he made a trio of three-pointers (3-6 3FG), marking the third straight game he has made three from behind the arc. After starting his career by missing his first 10 three-point attempts, Mitchell has responded by making 23 of his last 51 (.451).

* Redshirt freshman Jalen McDaniels made his first career start vs. the Cowboys. The forward finished with six points, a team-high 10 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 27 minutes. McDaniels has three double-digit rebounding performances in his last four outings and is averaging 9.0 rebounds during that span. He also has two double-doubles during this time period, including a 15-point, 10-rebound effort in last week’s win vs. then-No. 12/15 Gonzaga.

* San Diego State will look to get back to win column against a program it has never lost to since it joined the Mountain West ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. The Aztecs are 9-0 vs. Utah State since it became a member of the league and have outscored the Aggies at home by 69 points in four games (17.3-point average margin of victory).

* The Aztecs have yet to lose two games in a row and have responded from their previous three losses with victories. Twice this season, the game immediately after a loss occurred at home, while the other took place within city limits (at San Diego).

* SDSU is 9-3 overall vs. Utah State and 4-1 in Cox/Viejas Arena. Last year’s final meeting was the one of the closest of the Mountain West era when the Aztecs used a late 10-0 run to help them escape the confines of Dee Glen Smith Spectrum with the 66-62 victory. In that game, Trey Kell put up 21 points and seven rebounds, and Hemsley added 13 points.

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