Nevada-San Diego St. Preview
A last-second victory in its most recent contest reinforced San Diego State's drive to keep improving during an impressive run of success.
The No. 5 Aztecs can match a school record with a 20th consecutive victory Saturday night against visiting Nevada in a Mountain West Conference matchup.
Xavier Thames scored a team-high 23 points Wednesday, but his biggest contribution came when he delivered a pass to teammate Dwayne Polee II, who then hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds remaining to give San Diego State (20-1, 9-0) a come-from-behind 67-65 win at Boise State.
The victory sent the Aztecs to a school-record ninth consecutive conference victory and put them in position to match the 2010-11 team, which started 20-0, for the program's longest winning streak.
However, Thames and his teammate know they can't get too caught up in their latest triumph.
"We can't get too high off this win," he said. "It's a great win, but we just need to keep getting better."
San Diego State shot 58.5 percent Wednesday, but allowed the Broncos to shoot 51.0 percent and hit eight 3-pointers.
After needing overtime to win 74-69 at Utah State in their previous road contest Jan. 25, the Aztecs rallied from a 14-point deficit Wednesday - tying the longest comeback during coach Steve Fisher's 15 seasons at the school.
"That was a tough, gutty character-type game for us," Fisher said. "We stayed with it and found a way to win."
Fisher was quick to praise Thames, the senior guard who is averaging 26.0 points in the last three games - 7.8 better than his team-leading average.
"What can you say about Xavier Thames?" he said. "You can't tell me that he's not playing as well as anyone in America right now.''
Among the nation's leaders in scoring defense (56.5 points per game) and defensive field goal percentage (36.8), San Diego State allowed Utah State and Boise State to shoot a combined 51.9 percent in its last two road contests, but its last three home opponents to 34.9 percent.
Nevada (12-11, 7-3) hit half of its 24 3-point attempts last season at San Diego State, but the Aztecs shot 58.2 percent and made 10 3s of their own to win 88-75 to sweep the season series.
The Wolf Pack hope to avoid a third straight road loss overall after falling 83-75 at Utah State on Wednesday. Deonte Burton had 23 points and Cole Huff scored 21, but Nevada went 5 of 20 from 3-point range, was outrebounded 40-30 and allowed the Aggies to shoot 61.5 percent in the second half.
Burton, the Mountain West's leading scorer at 21.1 points per contest, moved into second place on Nevada's all-time scoring list with 1,944. Though he recorded 16 assists in the two games versus San Diego State last season, Burton scored 12 points in each contest and shot a combined 5 of 19.
Nevada fell 105-84 to then-No. 19 UCLA on Nov. 28 for its 13th consecutive defeat to a Top 25 team since beating then-No. 3 Gonzaga 91-72 in the second round of the 2004 NCAA tournament.