Laramie, WY (Sports Network) - The 15th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs have
made the trek to Arena-Auditorium for Saturday's Mountain West Conference
clash with the Wyoming Cowboys.
San Diego State opened the season with a loss to Syracuse, but then proceeded
to win 11 straight games before suffering its second defeat against Arizona.
Three more wins would follow, but the team recently dealt with loss number
three in an 82-75 setback at home to UNLV on Wednesday night. The Aztecs bring
a perfect 3-0 mark in true road games into this affair, as they take on a
Wyoming club that has surprised quite a few folks by going 9-1 at home and
The Cowboys sprinted out to a 13-0 start, but the beginning of MWC play has
brought the team back to reality a bit as losses to Boise State and Fresno
State are sandwiched around their lone league win at Nevada last Saturday.
Wednesday's 49-36 setback at Fresno marked the team's worst offensive showing
of the year, but also one of its best defensive efforts.
Wyoming owns a narrow 37-34 edge in the all-time series with San Diego State,
but the Aztecs have won eight of the last 10 meetings. The Pokes are a stellar
24-8 versus SDSU in Laramie over the years.
San Diego State has been solid at both ends of the court this season,
averaging 72.3 ppg while allowing 60.4 ppg. The Aztecs are shooting 44.5
percent from the field, including 34.7 percent from 3-point land, while foes
are hitting just 38.7 percent of their total shots, with a mere 31.1 percent
of their long-range launches finding the bottom of the net. SDSU has just two
double-digit scorers in Jamaal Franklin (18.4 ppg, 10.1 ppg) and Chase Tapley
(15.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), but five others average between 5.2 and 9.8 ppg. Franklin
has been a man possessed this season, and he is coming off a 27-point, seven-
rebound performance in the recent loss to UNLV. Winston Shepard tallied 18
points, five boards and five assists in 24 minutes of action off the bench,
and Tapley tacked on 16 points for the Aztecs, who converted just 38.8 percent
of their field goal attempts, missing 16 of 19 3-point tries along the way.
SDSU committed only five turnovers in the game, but they allowed the Runnin'
Rebels to knock down 51.6 percent of their total shots, and secure a 43-31
Luke Martinez, the Cowboys' leading scorer, is suspended indefinitely for his
alleged involvement in a bar room brawl in late December. Martinez was
averaging 14.5 ppg, and shooting 42.2 percent from 3-point range prior to the
suspension, leaving Leonard Washington (14.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg), Derrious
Gilmore (11.0 ppg, 2.6 apg) and Larry Nance, Jr. (10.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg) as the
lone double-digit scorers for a team that puts up 65.4 ppg on the strength of
typical shooting outputs of .450 overall, .341 from 3-point range, and .719
from the foul line. Defensively, the Pokes are allowing a mere 54.4 ppg, which
ranks the team first in the Mountain West and sixth nationally. Foes are
shooting just 39.6 percent from the floor, and the club forces an average of
15.2 turnovers per outing. Nance, Jr. nearly had a double-double in the
offensively-inept performance against Fresno State, logging 10 points and nine
rebounds, but as a collective unit Wyoming shot a horrific 24.0 percent from
the floor, and missed the mark on a staggering 22 of its 27 3-point attempts
on the night. Riley Grabau also scored 10 points in defeat, and Washington
grabbed 10 boards. The Cowboys were equally terrible from the charity stripe
(7-of-20), while the Bulldogs enjoyed 51.5 percent success from the floor,
despite going 0-of-6 beyond the arc.
The Sports Network