San Diego, CA – The final home game of the regular season for ranked team in the nation clashing with the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference play at Viejas Arena.
The Aztecs are currently tied with UNLV for second place in the Mountain West Conference with a record of 7-4, trailing only New Mexico with this and a couple of road games against Boise State and TCU still remaining. On Wednesday night, San Diego State was in yet another tough battle against Wyoming at home and appeared to be heading for an unprecedented fourth consecutive loss, but the team rallied, got the game into overtime and from there took over on the way to a 67-58 win.
As for the Rams, they stumbled a bit themselves for about three weeks, dropping five decisions in a span of seven games, but on Tuesday night the squad came up with a huge victory over nationally-ranked New Mexico at home, 71-63, their second win in as many games. However, entering this meeting CSU is winless in five conference road dates and now is 6-5 in league play overall, which has the team sitting in a tie with TCU for fourth place.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Rams own a 36-31 advantage after posting a surprising 77-60 win in the first meeting of the season last month in Fort Collins. However, the Aztecs have still won 12 of the last 13 regular-season matchups against Colorado State.
As one of those teams on the proverbial bubble when it comes to being selected for the NCAA Tournament, the Rams did themselves a huge favor as they defeated 18th-ranked New Mexico earlier this week. Pierce Hornung had his way in the paint as he registered a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, adding four steals as well in the eight-point home win. Dorian Green tallied a team-best 17 points, hitting all eight of his free-throw chances, while Wes Eikmeier chipped in 11 points for the squad as the defense forced 17 turnovers and held the visitors to just 6-of-23 shooting behind the three- point line. In conference play, Eikmeier is the leading point producer with his 14.3 ppg, connecting on 82.1 percent of his free-throw tries, while Green settles in with another 12.7 ppg and he too is a strong performer at the charity stripe (.826) as well. Hornung adds 9.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg and is first on the team with 18 steals.
San Diego State was in danger of losing four straight games for the first time since 2005, but the team showed resolve and added energy in overtime when it took out Wyoming on Wednesday night at home. Garrett Green, who missed a large portion of the second half against Air Force due to an ankle injury, bounded off the bench for the Aztecs and led the team with 14 points as he converted all six of his field goal chances. Jamaal Franklin, who also came back after sitting out a game with an ankle injury of his own, added 12 points, followed by Chase Tapley and Tim Shelton with 10 points apiece for the hosts. Tapley, the only player to have started every game this season, has scored the most overall points and is averaging 15.6 ppg thanks to his 44.3 percent accuracy from behind the three-point line, but when it comes to average alone, Jamaal Franklin moves ahead slightly with his 15.8 ppg. Xavier Thames adds another 10.1 ppg to the attack and is also the key figure in the passing game with 114 assists as he plays almost 34 minutes per contest.