GAME NOTES: The San Diego State Aztecs shoot for their eighth consecutive 20- win season when they take the floor at Viejas Arena on Saturday versus the Nevada Wolf Pack in Mountain West Conference action.
Expected to compete for the MWC title again this season, the Aztecs have hit a few bumps in the road on that journey and are currently tied with UNLV for third in the league standings with a record of 7-5. There's still time to reverse their fortunes, but the Aztecs need a lot of help from the teams in front of them at the moment.
On a positive note, SDSU did halt a two-game slide earlier this week with a resounding 79-51 victory over Wyoming at home, which means the Aztecs are now 12-1 in their own building in 2012-13.
As for the Wolf Pack, this is their first year in the MWC after residing in the Western Athletic Conference for so many years. The transition has been rough as they are just percentage points out of last place in the conference standings with a record of 3-8. The team was also in action on Tuesday night against Fresno State and bowed to the Bulldogs in overtime, 69-64, for their fifth loss in the last six games.
The Aztecs lead the all-time series between the programs by a 6-3 margin, thanks in part to a 78-57 blowout victory in the first matchup of the season a month ago at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
Nevada held the Bulldogs to just 37.9 percent shooting from the floor and 6- of-23 behind the 3-point line on Tuesday night, yet the Pack was still taken to overtime where they coughed up a potential win. Deonte Burton scored 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the floor for Nevada, followed by Marqueze Coleman and Jordan Burris with 11 and 10 points, respectively, off the bench. Malik Story had little impact as he shot 1-of-11 from the field and finished with six points, six rebounds and five assists.
Story has been an enigma this season to say the least, going from scoring 35 points one night against Yale back in late December to combining for only 19 points over the next three contests. He has had far too many single-digit scoring efforts in 2012-13 which is one of the reasons why Nevada has struggled so much. Granted, Story (15.8 ppg) is second on the team in scoring behind Burton (16.0 ppg), but more often than not the former isn't much of a factor when Nevada needs him most.
Jamaal Franklin scored 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds as the San Diego State Aztecs crushed the visiting Wyoming Cowboys by 28 points in a Mountain West Conference battle at Viejas Arena earlier this week. Also having an impact for the Aztecs was Dwayne Polee II who made good on 6-of-8 shots from the floor as he finished with 16 points and five rebounds in just 18 minutes off the bench, while Winston Shepard added 12 points and JJ O'Brien 10 for the hosts in the lopsided final.
Even though he has had some games this season where he simply was not at his best, Franklin is still in the running for all-conference and player of the year honors as he averages 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, not to mention being first with 79 assists and 39 steals as well. Now, the drawback to Franklin's efforts is that he is shooting just 40.3 percent from the floor and a dismal 26.3 percent beyond the arc for a group that doesn't need him out on the perimeter as much as they do in the paint.
If Story and Burton can get on the same page again and become a duo that opponents have to be wary of at all times then the Wolf Pack will have some bite, but for now the Aztecs have no fear of Nevada.
Game Date and Time