GAME NOTES: Having recently fallen out of the Top-25, the San Diego State Aztecs hope to return to their winning ways when they pay a visit to the Nevada Wolf Pack in Mountain West Conference action on Wednesday night.
The Aztecs are seeking an end to a two-game losing streak, which dropped them to 14-4 overall and an even 2-2 in conference. San Diego State put forth its worst offensive showing of the season in last Saturday's 58-45 loss at Wyoming, the setback being the team's first in four true road games. The Aztecs lost at home to UNLV three days prior, that defeat being their first at home this season.
Nevada improved to 10-7 overall by picking up its first MWC win at Fresno State last Saturday, 68-61. The victory put the brakes on a three-game losing streak for the Pack, who come into this contest sporting an 8-2 home record. The team's last outing in Reno however, resulted in a 59-48 loss to the same Wyoming squad that recently knocked off SDSU.
San Diego State owns a 5-3 lead in the all-time series with Nevada, but the Wolf Pack won the last two meetings, both of which took place during the 1998-99 season.
Despite the recent bumps in the road, San Diego State has been solid at both ends of the court this season, averaging 70.8 ppg while allowing 60.2 ppg. The Aztecs are shooting 43.6 percent from the field, including 33.4 percent from 3-point range, while foes are hitting just 38.9 percent of their total shots, with a mere 30.8 percent of their long-range attempts finding their mark. SDSU has just two double-digit scorers in Jamaal Franklin (18.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg) and Chase Tapley (14.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg), but five others average between 5.5 and 9.8 ppg. Franklin has been sensational this season, but he had an off night in the recent loss to Wyoming, missing 11 of his 14 field goal attempts, including 5- of-6 from 3-point range, in tallying 13 points. He had a 27-point, seven- rebound effort in the loss to UNLV the game prior. Winston Shepard was the only other Aztec to reach double figures against the Cowboys, netting 10 points, but he too was off the mark with his shot (4-of-12). As a team, SDSU struggled with 28.8 percent field goal efficiency, and it really had a rough time of it from long range (2-of-18). An embarrassingly slow start (.167 FG percentage and a paltry nine points in the first half) coupled with an 18-9 deficit in points from the foul line played significant roles in the disappointing outcome.
Nevada is scoring as many points as it allows this season, netting 70.3 ppg while foes put up 70.2 ppg. The Wolf Pack is being outshot overall (.425 to .433), and it is severely overmatched beyond the arc (.297 to .385). The team owns favorable margins in both rebounding (+0.5) and turnovers (+1.2), but not by much. Deonte Burton (16.8 ppg) and Malik Story (15.8 ppg) are Nevada's only two double-digit scorers, their closest teammates coming in at half that on average. Story was high man in the recent win over Fresno State, hitting three treys and 11-of-12 free throws in tallying 24 points, while Burton wasn't far off the pace as he too was stellar from stripe (12-of-15) in dropping 22 points. Jerry Evans, Jr. grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the Pack, which shot just 37.8 percent from the field, but held the Bulldogs to an equally inefficient 37.0 percent. FSU did manage to drain 9-of-21 3-point attempts, but Nevada was guilty of only seven turnovers and scored 30 points at the free throw line compared to just 12 for the hosts.
Despite playing on the road, expect the Aztecs to come out with a purpose as they try to erase the memory of last Saturday's horrific loss at Wyoming.
Game Date and Time