The San Diego State Aztecs will play host to the UNLV Running Rebels at Viejas Arena (12,414) this Saturday. The Aztecs will enter Saturday’s game as the favorites against UNLV. The starting five for the Aztecs will be JJ O’Brien, Josh Davis, Skylar Spencer, Winston Shepard and Xavier Thames. The players to watch in Saturday’s game are Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard. Xavier Thames enters the game against UNLV averaging 16.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 games this season. Winston Shepard enters the game against UNLV averaging 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15 games this season.
The Aztecs are still trying to improve with shooting from the floor and behind the arc. The Aztecs are shooting 44.8% from the floor and 40.6% from behind the arc. The Aztecs need major improvement in the free throw game but have improved their free throw shooting average to 63.9%. The Aztecs have also been working harder this season on offensive and defensive rebounds. The Aztecs have out rebounded teams this year 650 to 548. San Diego State is ranked 10th in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 Poll and is ranked 11th in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. This is just the second time in school history that the Aztecs have been ranked in the Top 10. The San Diego State Aztecs have the number one ranked field goal defense in the nation! San Diego State’s opponent’s has been averaging a field goal percentage of just 35.8% and 26.8% from beyond the arc. The Aztecs have been bringing massive press on opponent’s this season thanks to a very deep bench. This has allowed the Aztecs to use the full court press for a majority of every game.
The Rebels have some height on their team with Roscoe Smith (6-8), Khem Birch (6-9), Demetris Morant (6-9), and Christian Wood (6-10) and Carlos Lopez-Sosa (6-11). The smallest players on the Rebels team are Dantley Walker (5-11), Daquan Cook 6-1), Barry Cheaney (6-1), Kendall Smith (6-2) and Kevin Olekaibe (6-2).
The key players to watch coming into Saturday’s game for UNLV are Bryce Dejean-Jones and Roscoe Smith. Bryce Dejean-Jones enters the game averaging 15 points and 3.9 rebounds in 16 games this season.Roscoe Smith enters the game averaging 12 points and 12.5 rebounds in 17 games this season. The Rebels have a good-sized squad that will put up a fight on the boards against a talented Aztec squad.
Keys for Victory:
1) Shoot more than 45% from the floor!
2) Point’s in the paint!
3) Only shoot 3-point shot’s that are open!
4) Limit turnovers!
5) Attack the boards (Work on getting offensive rebounds)!
1) Force SDSU to shoot from the perimeter.
2) Force SDSU to commit turnovers.
3) Win the defensive battle of the boards.
4) Try and get SDSU to foul out.
San Diego State has won 107 straight games when leading with five minutes left to play.
San Diego State is 67-6 (91.6%) at Viejas Arena since the name change in 2009.
San Diego State has a record of 23-3 when ranked in the Top 10! WeAreAztecs
Game Day Information
January 18th Tipoff is at 3:05 p.m. PT San Diego, California.
TV: CBS Sports
Radio: Mighty 1090
UNM is the only road favorite in the Mountain West for Saturday. Lobos favored by 5.5 at Fresno State. #mwbb
— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) January 18, 2014
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