(13) San Diego State (13-1) at Air Force (8-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 12, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Clune Arena (5,843) -- USAFA, Colorado. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SDSU 7-1, AF 6-3. Away Record: SDSU 3-0, AF 1-3. Neutral Record: SDSU 3-0, AF 1-0. Conference Record: SDSU 2-0, AF 2-1. Series Record: San Diego State leads, 48-22.
GAME NOTES: The 13th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs take their 12-game win streak on the road this afternoon, as they visit the Air Force Falcons for a Mountain West Conference battle at Clune Arena.
An impressive 13-1 on the campaign, the only loss for SDSU came in the second game of the season in a 69-60 setback to Arizona at home. The fact that the Wildcats are now ranked first in the nation should go a long way in telling just how strong the Aztecs are this season.
The most recent outing for San Diego State took place last Wednesday night at home, and the club needed some quality play down the stretch to hold on for a 69-66 triumph over Boise State. The win streak for the Aztecs is the third- longest in the 93 seasons they have been playing basketball.
As for the Falcons, they recently posted one of their biggest conference wins in recent history, topping UNLV on the road at the Thomas & Mack Center, 75-68, last weekend. The victory was the second straight for the Academy in league play, but then the Falcons ended up on the wrong side of a 71-65 final versus Fresno State earlier this week.
San Diego State leads the all-time series by a count of 48-22, but the Aztecs have not won at Clune Arena since 2011. The teams have split the season series each of the last two years.
Perhaps most concerning for the Aztecs about their most recent game was the fact that they almost had an 18-point lead completely slip away. Thankfully, SDSU withstood a 14-4 run by the Broncos late in order to claim the win and move to 2-0 in league action. Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard both tallied 16 points, while Josh Davis posted eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds, but still the hosts were beaten on the glass by a 37-32 margin.
The starting lineup for the Aztecs has been featuring four forwards and just a single guard, emphasizing effort on the glass which, outside of the meeting with Boise State, generally favors SDSU by an average of 6.7 rpg. Davis is ripping down 11.2 rpg and is always on the cusp of coming away with a double- double as he produces 8.8 ppg. The leading scorers are just as they were versus BSU, with Thames and Shepard putting up 16.2 and 13.2 ppg, respectively, for a group that is generating 75.0 ppg.
Coming off such a huge win against the Runnin' Rebels, Air Force was bound to come out a little flat against Fresno State, but no one could have predicted just how cold the Falcons would be through the first 20 minutes of action. Air Force fell behind immediately and converted a total of just five field goals in the frame, en route to a 27-16 deficit at the break. The visitors responded with 66.7 percent in the second half, but by then it was too little, too late.
Tre' Coggins scored 21 points, Max Yon 20, followed by Kamryn Williams and Justin Hammonds who dropped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, with each also clearing seven rebounds. As a unit, the Falcons actually beat Fresno State on the glass, 35-29.
Historically a poor rebounding program, Air Force is actually topping opponents by 2.2 rpg at the moment. That effort in the paint has allowed the program to generate a scoring edge of 2.8 ppg as well, thanks to Coggins (17.0 ppg), Yon (14.0 ppg) and Marek Olesinski (12.2 ppg).
When the San Diego State defense is working well, there are few teams that can match the intensity as the Aztecs limit foes to a mere 54.5 ppg on 34.5 percent shooting from the field and 25.6 percent behind the 3-point line. It will be a true test to see if Air Force can exceed those numbers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego 71, Air Force 60
01/12 10:23:46 ET