Boise St.-San Diego St. Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 07, 2014
San Diego State's stingy defense has shut down nearly every opponent, most recently helping it knock off a national power. Now the Aztecs will try to slow down the Mountain West's highest-scoring offense. No. 13 San Diego State looks to slow down visiting Boise State on Wednesday night. The Aztecs (12-1, 1-0) - off to their best start since opening 20-0 in 2010-11 - will try to rely on their defense to improve their all-time series edge to 7-1. They're one of the toughest teams to score on in the country, limiting opponents to 53.6 points per game on 33.9 percent shooting. San Diego State was not intimidated by a trip to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday, holding then-No. 16 Kansas to 29.8 percent shooting, including 20.7 in the first half, in a 61-57 victory to end the Jayhawks' 68-game non-conference home winning streak. Kansas, which had its worst shooting performance since 1998, came in averaging 79.4 points and shooting 50.9 percent. "This is a great win for us," said guard Xavier Thames, who scored 16 and hit four free throws in the final eight seconds. "A lot of teams don't come in here and get victories. I'm just blessed to be a part of this one." The Aztecs were also dominant on the glass, claiming a 51-39 rebounding advantage and pulling down a season-high 19 on the offensive end. They average a plus-7.6 rebounding margin per game. Josh Davis - one of the nation's leaders with 11.3 rebounds per game - had 14 boards along with 10 points for his fourth double-double in six games. Sophomore forward Skylar Spencer recorded career highs with 13 points and six blocks while also grabbing six of his nine rebounds on offense. "It was a focal point for us, and the game just started flowing that way," said sophomore forward Winston Shepard, who scored nine. "Skylar came up big for us." While San Diego State has won three straight games against ranked teams since losing to No. 1 Arizona on Nov. 14, Boise State (11-3, 1-0) is 6-38 all-time versus Top 25 opponents and 0-2 this season with losses to Kentucky and Iowa State. The Broncos have also lost eight of their last nine road games against ranked competition, only knocking off then-No. 11 Creighton 83-70 on Nov. 28, 2012. However, they rank among the country's best offenses, scoring 82.7 points per game and shoot 40.1 percent from 3-point range while averaging 8.0 baskets from beyond the arc. San Diego State limits opponents to 25.8 percent shooting from long distance. The Broncos hit 10 of 24 attempts from distance in an 86-79 victory over Fresno State on Saturday, with Jeff Elorriaga going 4 for 10 and Nick Duncan hitting 3 of 4. A 20-0 run in the first half allowed them to dominate most of the game before letting down their guard late. "We can't put the brakes on for an entire second half. That's not who we are," coach Leon Rice said. " ... We have to be aggressive. I think we just lost a little bit of that aggression there in the second half." Boise State junior Anthony Drmic averages a team-high 19.5 points, but second-leading scorer Derrick Marks is averaging 9.8 points in his last four games after averaging 17.7 in his first 10. Boise State's lone series win came 69-65 at home in last season's regular-season finale on March 9. The Aztecs won the rematch four days later in the Mountain West tournament. Five of the team's six meetings since Boise State joined the conference have been decided by six points or fewer.
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