San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Having recently been granted a three-year contract extension, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher will lead his 16th- ranked Aztecs into Thursday night's clash with the visiting Roadrunners of CS- Bakersfield as part of the Maui Invitational.
Fisher, who is in his 16th season with SDSU and is on the verge of becoming the program's all-time wins leader, has marched his team out to a 2-0 start to the 2014-15 campaign, although they have yet to leave the friendly confines of Viejas Arena.
The Aztecs began the season with a 79-58 victory against Cal State Northridge, and then topped former Mountain West Conference foe and 25th-ranked Utah on Tuesday night by a 53-49 score. After this game with the Roadrunners, SDSU will finally leave the Golden State and head to Hawaii where it will continue with the Maui Invitational's championship round.
As for Bakersfield, a team which will not play in front of the hometown fans until this weekend when it hosts Delaware, has come up empty in three games thus far. The Roadrunners started the campaign in Honolulu, taking part in the Rainbow Classic where they fell to High Point, host Hawaii and, most recently Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday in a 56-49 final.
The Aztecs won the only previous meeting between the programs by a score of 72-57 at home two seasons ago.
Since losing to High Point in four overtimes in Hawaii, the Roadrunners have watched their scoring production dwindle each time out. On Monday, the team was limited to just 49 points by Arkansas-Pine Bluff as Javonte Maynor scored a team-best 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting behind the 3-point line, followed by Kevin Mays who registered a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, six of those boards coming at the offensive end for a squad that shot just 32.4 percent from the field and had more turnovers (14) than field goals (12).
Through three games, Aly Ahmed is the leading scorer for the Roadrunners with his 17.3 ppg, as he shoots 58.8 percent from the floor. Maynor checks in with 11.0 ppg and Mays another 10.7 ppg to go a long with a team-best 11.0 rpg, which has helped the program produce a +7.3 rpg advantage over the competition for the time being.
However, even with Ahmed shooting the ball well from the field, this is a Bakersfield group that is down at 40.8 percent accuracy, while allowing the opposition to make good on not just 45.2 percent from the floor, but also an impressive 45.8 percent behind the 3-point line.
The game between Utah and San Diego State was a defensive affair that saw the teams combine for only 11 field goals in the first half and a narrow 18-17 Utah lead at the break. However, after intermission the Aztecs feasted at the free-throw line (15-of-19) in order to secure the narrow win at home. JJ O'Brien was the lone double-digit scorer in the contest with 12 points, adding a team-best 11 rebounds and three of the unit's four assists. Angelo Chol tacked on eight points and five boards off the bench.
As was the case last season, the Aztecs are again focused on keeping scores down and already the team is surrendering only 53.5 ppg. Those foes have shot only 37.0 percent from the field and 25.8 percent behind the 3-point line.
O'Brien leads three players in double figures with his 12.5 ppg, followed by Aqeel Quinn and Winston Shepard with 10.5 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.