San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - The fourth-ranked San Diego State Aztecs try to rebound from their first loss of 2010-11 tonight as they host the Wyoming Cowboys in Mountain West Conference action at Viejas Arena.
Billed as one of the biggest games in MWC history, the Aztecs made their way to Provo on Wednesday night to tangle with ninth-ranked BYU at the Marriott Center, a venue that has been tough for any and all visitors to escape, and the end result was a disappointing 71-58 setback for SDSU. The defeat snapped the nation's longest win streak at 20 games and also left top-ranked Ohio State as the last of the unbeatens at the Division I level.
As for the Cowboys, they suited up against UNLV on Tuesday night and bowed to the visiting Runnin' Rebels in a 74-65 final. The defeat was the fourth in a row and the fifth in the last six outings for a Wyoming squad that is now just 1-5 in conference play. Another knock against the Pokes right now is that they have yet to win a single game outside of Laramie this season, falling in a pair of neutral-site tests and all six true road games thus far.
San Diego State, which has won 14 straight home games and 26 in a row in its own building against non-ranked opponents, actually trails in the all-time series against the Pokes by a count of 37-30. However, the Aztecs have won two of the last three meetings, including an 88-57 blowout back in February of last year.
Wyoming had issues on the glass against the Rebels earlier this week, losing the rebounding battle by a count of 40-26, but that was just one of the reasons why the team bowed in the nine-point decision. Desmar Jackson finished with 17 points and six rebounds, followed by Amath M'Baye and Francisco Cruz who both tallied 13 points and collected six rebounds, which means the rest of the team did very little in the paint for Wyoming. Jackson currently leads the Cowboys in scoring with his 15.2 ppg, although his mere 23.9 percent shooting accuracy from three-point range is sorely lacking. Djibril Thiam, who finished with nine points against UNLV, is good for another 10.7 ppg, but even though he is connecting on field goals at an incredible 59.1 percent clip, the fact that he has but 12 assists in 19 appearances is still tough to swallow.
Heading into the meeting with BYU on Wednesday night, there were reports coming out of the SDSU camp that Kawhi Leonard was under the weather and had been ill, yet that didn't stop the super sophomore from generating yet another double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds in the difficult road loss. Also scoring in double figures for the Aztecs was Malcolm Thomas with 10 points to go along with six rebounds, but there was simply no way San Diego State was going to keep up the pace with BYU at such a high altitude. The other problem for the Aztecs was that D.J. Gay, who had combined for 50 points in the two games leading up to the showdown, was held to a mere two points (2-of-3 FTs) on 0-of-7 shooting from the floor. Leonard has been an absolute beast since joining the SDSU ranks and so far this season he is averaging a double-double with 16.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, leading the group in both departments. Gay (12.3 ppg) and Thomas (11.8 ppg) also play significant roles on offense, but as the Cougars showed on Wednesday night, the Aztecs are built more for brute force in the half-court set than they are for running and gunning.
01/29 10:45:22 ET