Another top-notch meeting among teams from the highly competitive Mountain West Conference takes place on Saturday night, as the San Diego State Aztecs, ranked 16th in the nation, entertain the Colorado State Rams at Viejas Arena.
Despite having an identical overall record as San Diego State, the Rams aren't getting nearly the same recognition as their counterparts to this point in the campaign. Last weekend, the Rams tied a program record with their 22nd straight home win as they dismissed St. Bonaventure in an 85-64 final at Moby Arena.
Colorado State, which lost back-to-back outings at Colorado and Illinois- Chicago back in early December, have now won seven straight games overall while matching the school's all-time mark for consecutive home victories, previously set between 1960-62 at South College Gym.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs enter the weekend as one of three teams in the MWC ranked in the Top-25, the others being New Mexico and UNLV. Already there are six teams in the league with at least 13 wins and the only program that is playing below .500 is Fresno State which lost to SDSU earlier this week, 65-62. With that victory the Aztecs picked up their second win in a row overall and the 32nd straight versus schools from the Golden State.
The most recent meeting between these squads took place during the 2012 MWC Tournament, with the Aztecs claiming a 79-69 victory which means the all-time series now numbers 36-33, but in favor of the Rams. While CSU may still hold a three-game edge over SDSU, it is the Aztecs who have been hot in recent years with 16 wins in 18 opportunities.
San Diego State has also won nine straight at home in the series.
Colorado State scored the first points of the game against the Bonnies last weekend and never looked back, converting an impressive 52.7 percent from the floor while holding the visitors to just 34.9 percent success. Wes Eikmeier led the scoring detail with 21 points, followed by Dorian Green with 19 and six assists, while Colton Iverson came up with yet another double-double with his 14 points and 12 rebounds. Not to be ignored was Pierce Hornung who came up two points shy of his own double-double as he cleared a game-high 13 rebounds along the way. With the win the Rams are now off to their best start in almost six decades, thanks in large part to Iverson who is averaging 14.7 ppg and 8.9 rpg, while shooting 59.0 percent from the field. Hornung is further down on the scoring list with his 9.6 ppg, but he's actually first in rebounding right now with 10.2 per outing, which explains how this group continues to beat opponents on the glass by 14 caroms per contest.
In addition to a spectacular dunk that he set himself up for with a pass off the backboard from behind the three-point line in the win over Fresno State, Jamaal Franklin also stepped up with 20 points, a career-best 18 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots, the first player in college basketball to generate such numbers in a single outing. DeShawn Stephens was the other starter in double figures with 13 points, while James Rahon came off the bench to tally 16, making him the latest SDSU player to reach 1,000 points for his career. Franklin, who had a string of double-digit scoring games recently snapped at 32 in a row, leads the team in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (14.9 ppg), adding a team-best 51 assists for good measure. Chase Tapley chips in with 14.9 ppg as a 43.8 percent 3-point shooter. Xavier Thames missed the meeting with the Bulldogs due to injury and if he is out again that means the team will have to make up for his 10.2 ppg in another way.