San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off their first loss in nearly three months, the fifth-ranked San Diego State Aztecs are again on the attack this weekend as they host the Air Force Falcons in Mountain West Conference action at Viejas Arena.
After losing to nationally-ranked Arizona on Nov. 14 in just the second game of the season, the Aztecs rattled off a staggering 20 straight victories and were undefeated in MWC play through the first 10 outings. However, the team hit a bump in the road on Tuesday night when they visited Wyoming and was taken out by a pesky group of Cowboys, 68-62. Still, SDSU is all alone at the top of the MWC standings and has one of the best overall records in college basketball.
Over on the other side, since beating Utah State and UNLV to kick off the conference schedule back in early January, the Falcons have picked up just two more league victories and both have been against a hapless San Jose State squad. That latest triumph took place on Wednesday night as Air Force slipped by with a 51-48 decision in California. At just 4-8 in conference, the only team further down than the Falcons in the standings is SJSU (0-12).
The Aztecs lead the all-time series by a count of 49-22, with one of those victories coming last month at Clune Arena in Colorado where the squad claimed a 79-72 victory. San Diego State has now won 10 of the last 12 encounters and is 27-6 in games played at home.
Down by a point late in the meeting with SJSU, the Falcons closed out with a 4-0 run to capture the three-point road win at The Event Center. Kamryn Williams tallied 15 points for the visitors, followed by Marek Olesinski and Max Yon with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Back in the starting lineup after a suspension and coming off the bench, Tre' Coggins scored only three points on 1-of-12 shooting from the floor, although he did hand out five assists and make four steals.
Coggins, who has missed three league bouts and come off the bench in one of his nine league appearances, still leads the group in scoring with 16.9 ppg. Despite his awful shooting performance the last time out, Coggins continues to make field goals at a 46.9 percent clip and is 41.9 percent accurate behind the 3-point line. Olesinski (12.7 ppg) is also carrying the weight out on the perimeter with 28 conversions on 69 tries (.406).
Xavier Thames became just the latest in the long line of 1,000-point scorers in the history of the Aztecs the other night, but his positive start to the meeting with Wyoming was not enough to carry SDSU into the win column again. In fact, Thames finished the night shooting only 3-of-16 from the field and 0- of-8 behind the 3-point line as he finished with 13 points. Dwayne Polee came off the bench to account for 15 points, JJ O'Brien added 11 and both Josh Davis and Winston Shepard added 10 in the losing cause.
Even though the lengthy win streak for SDSU finally came to an end, the team is still one of the best defensive groups in all of college basketball, permitting only 57.1 ppg as opponents shoot 37.7 percent from the floor and 28.3 percent beyond the arc. At the offensive end, Thames takes the lead with 17.9 ppg and is first in assists with 62. Down in the paint, Davis is responsible for 9.0 ppg and a team-best 10.9 rpg as the Aztecs beat foes on the glass by 5.8 rpg heading into the weekend.