San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off a monumental win against nationally-ranked Kansas in Lawrence, the 13th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs now turn their attention towards Mountain West Conference foes as they host the Boise State Broncos at Viejas Arena.
San Diego State has won 11 straight decisions since falling to Arizona in the second game of the season, a team which is now the top-ranked squad in the nation. On Sunday, the Aztecs invaded legendary Allen Fieldhouse and held the Jayhawks to their lowest scoring output at home in close to eight years, delivering a 61-57 victory in the non-conference showdown.
The defensive effort by SDSU served to snap what had been a 68-game home winning streak for Kansas against non-conference opponents.
While the Aztecs were playing in the heartland, BSU was getting back to simply playing basketball as the Broncos returned to the hardwood for the first time since Christmas Day last Saturday versus Fresno State. Rebounding from a four- point loss to nationally-ranked Iowa State in the title game of the Diamond Head Classic, Boise State dialed up an 86-79 win over the Bulldogs in the conference opener.
San Diego State has won all but one of the previous seven meetings in the series, dropping a 69-65 final last season in Boise. However, the Aztecs more than made up for it by posting a 73-67 victory in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas just four days later.
Ryan Watkins registered a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, as the Boise State Broncos picked up the seven-point win over the Bulldogs in conference play at Taco Bell Arena on Saturday night. Anthony Drmic scored a team-high 19 points, cleared five rebounds and handed out five assists for the Broncos as they won for the third time in four tries. Jeff Elorriaga and Mikey Thompson tacked on 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Broncos, who held a 42-26 edge on the glass, outscored the visitors at the charity stripe, 28-14.
Drmic, who is shooting only 33.3 percent from 3-point range this season, is still the leading offensive force for the Broncos with his 19.5 ppg and is also one of the better rebounders for the group with 4.5 rpg. Derrick Marks accounts for another 15.4 ppg and is one of three performers with at least 35 assists thus far, but still those numbers don't completely mask his faulty 23.8 percent effort beyond the arc. Elorriaga (11.5 ppg) may not be producing points at will, but there is no denying that opponents have to stick close by when he has the ball out on the perimeter since he has made an astounding 43- of-78 (.551).
San Diego State led by as many as 11 points in the second half against Kansas in Lawrence and while the advantage dwindled down the stretch, the visitors stayed out ahead as they claimed the four-point win. The Aztecs shot just 37.7 percent from the floor in the meeting and turned the ball over 15 times, but the SDSU defense was more than capable of making up for those deficits as they held the Jayhawks to a meager 29.8 percent accuracy from the field, including 4-of-16 behind the 3-point line. Xavier Thames scored a game-high 16 points, Skylar Spencer accounted for 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots, followed by Josh Davis with 10 points and a game-high 14 boards as SDSU registered a 51-39 advantage on the glass.
The Aztecs are beating opponents on the glass by an average of 7.6 rpg this season, but there is so much more to the team's suffocating defense these days. The squad is permitting foes to make good on a mere 33.9 percent of their field goal attempts, 25.8 percent behind the 3-point line and has watched those squads knock down just 64.8 percent at the free-throw line as well. Put it all together and the SDSU defense is surrendering only 53.6 ppg, one of the top marks in the country.
At the offensive end, Thames produces 16.2 ppg, thanks to his 47.5 percent accuracy behind the arc, followed by Winston Shepard with 12.9 ppg, although the latter has knocked down only 21.4 percent of his 3-point tries.