San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Seeking to start conference play a perfect
6-0 for the first time in 47 years, the seventh-ranked San Diego State Aztecs
have hit the road to challenge the San Jose State Spartans in Mountain West
San Diego State, which has already defeated three Top-25 programs here in
2013-14 and a total of six schools that appeared in last year's NCAA
Tournament, has just a single setback through 17 opportunities with a 69-60
loss to then sixth-ranked Arizona. Since bowing to the Wildcats, a team which
is now a near-unanimous No. 1 squad, San Diego State has rattled off 15
straight wins. While there have been some close calls along the way, SDSU was
able to take down visiting UNLV last weekend in a 63-52 final.
Enjoying their second-longest winning streak in program history and the
fourth-longest in the nation coming into the week, the Aztecs also have to be
pleased with themselves knowing that they've also won 38 straight meetings
against opponents from the Golden State.
While SDSU is the only team in the MWC yet to suffer a league loss, the
Spartans are at the other end of the spectrum. San Jose State is still the
lone winless team in MWC play, coming up empty in six tries after losing to
Wyoming last weekend, 67-56, in Laramie. On a more positive note, of the six
total victories by the Spartans at this stage, four have come at home.
Even though the Aztecs have the much bigger profile again this season, the
fact remains that SJSU actually leads the all-time series by a count of 34-30.
However, it should be noted that the teams have not crossed paths since 1999
when SDSU posted a 75-72 win.
Holding the UNLV Runnin' Rebels to a mere 20 points in the first half, the
fewest tallied in a 20-minute frame by the program since 2009, the Aztecs were
well on their way to picking up yet another victory over the weekend. The
hosts did have some problems of their own as they shot only 20-of-59 from the
floor and 2-of-11 behind the 3-point line, but made up for it with 21-of-27 at
the free-throw line. Xavier Thames tallied a game-high 18 points, but shot
only 3-of-14 from the field, followed by Josh Davis with a solid double-double
consisting of 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Thames leads the Aztecs in scoring with his 17.0 ppg, connecting on 81.6
percent of his opportunities at the charity stripe, while Winston Shepard
checks in with 13.1 ppg and combines with the former to hand out 79 assists in
17 games. Davis is always on the cusp of posting a double-double, now
averaging 9.0 ppg and a team-best 11.5 rpg as he helps the group to beat
opponents on the glass by 6.6 rpg. Defensively, there are few teams in the
country as strong as SDSU as it limits foes to a mere 55.7 ppg.
With only eight field goals in the first half against Wyoming in Laramie over
the weekend, the Spartans dug themselves a hole from which they could not
climb out. The visitors ended up shooting only 37.0 percent from the field
overall, 9-of-29 on the perimeter, as D.J. Brown tallied a team-best 18 points
thanks to his four triples. Devante Wilson tacked on 13 points and Chris
Cunningham 10 in the losing cause.
Despite putting up just two points as he missed all seven of his field goal
chances and converted a couple of attempts at the free-throw line, Rashad
Muhammad is still the top overall scorer for the Spartans with his 16.2 ppg.
Off the bench in all but one of the team's 18 contests, Muhammad is shooting
better from 3-point range (.450) than he is the floor overall (.405), where
the Spartans are only 40.0 percent accurate at the moment. Jaleel Williams
accounts for another 11.9 ppg and is second on the glass with 6.2 rpg.
The Sports Network