San Diego St.-New Mexico Preview

Two of New Mexico’s home games this season have been delayed by
false fire alarms.

There’s nothing false about San Diego State, and cooling off the
undefeated Aztecs promises to be a tall order.

Sixth-ranked San Diego State seeks to extend the nation’s
longest winning streak to 19 on Saturday when it visits the
Lobos.

One of four remaining undefeated teams in Division I, the Aztecs
(18-0, 3-0 Mountain West) continued their remarkable start
Wednesday with a physical 55-49 victory over UNLV. The 18-game
winning streak became the nation’s longest after No. 1 Duke had its
25-game run snapped in a 66-61 loss at Florida State earlier
Wednesday night.

“It means a lot, but we’re not done yet,” senior forward Billy
White said. “We’ve still got a lot of ballgames to look forward to.
Right now we’re happy with that and hoping to extend it.”

White, who had 10 points against the Runnin’ Rebels, forms one
of the nation’s top frontcourts with fellow senior Malcolm Thomas
and sophomore Kawhi Leonard. Thomas had 14 points and 16 rebounds
Wednesday while Leonard had 15 points and 17 boards, marking the
first time in school history that two Aztecs had at least 16
rebounds.

Despite their accomplishments, the Aztecs are not one of college
basketball’s traditional powers. Coming from the mid-major Mountain
West, they perceive a lack of national respect.

“Some people think we’re still a joke,” White said. “We hear
comments all the time – we shouldn’t be in the top 10, we shouldn’t
be ranked, but that just motivates us more, keeps us playing
harder, keeps making us prove them wrong. We know that we belong
here. For right now we’re not going anywhere. We’re trying to move
up. We’ve just got to get better to do that.”

The Lobos (13-4, 1-1) know White and the Aztecs are no joke. San
Diego State took two of three meetings last season, including a
72-69 victory in the MWC tournament semifinals at Las Vegas behind
28 points from White. New Mexico’s lone victory in the season
series came in overtime, 88-86 at home Feb. 6.

The Lobos have won 35 of 36 at home, including victories in
their only two games against ranked opponents during that span –
Texas Tech and BYU last season.

They improved to 9-0 at home this season with a 68-61 victory
over Colorado State on Wednesday in a game delayed 38 minutes with
one second left in the first half after a fire alarm was
deliberately pulled.

It was the second fire-alarm delay of the season in newly
remodeled University Arena.

Coming off the bench for the first time in his career, junior
guard Phillip McDonald matched a career high with 27 points against
the Rams. Forward Drew Gordon, meanwhile, made his first start of
the season and responded with 15 points and 16 rebounds for his
second double-double in three games.

Gordon, a transfer from UCLA averaging a team-best 8.1 boards,
appears to relish the challenge San Diego State’s forwards present
in the low post.

“I’m not going to back down from anybody,” he told the Lobos’
official website. “I’m not going to be scared of anybody or let
anybody intimidate me.”