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.”