Wyoming-San Diego St. Preview
Beaten and battered, San Diego State must find a way to turn
The ailing No. 24 Aztecs look to avoid losing four straight
games for the first time in seven seasons when they host struggling
Wyoming on Wednesday night in a Mountain West Conference
Two weeks ago, San Diego State (20-6, 6-4) had won 13 of 14 and
was atop the Mountain West standings. Then the Aztecs lost 65-63 at
then-No. 14 UNLV on Feb. 11, and four days later fell 77-67 to
current league leader New Mexico.
The Aztecs might have hit rock bottom Saturday in a 58-56 road
loss to an Air Force team that had two previous conference wins.
With its league title hopes in serious jeopardy, San Diego State
now tries to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since a
six-game skid Feb. 12-March 5, 2005.
“I think we have to make sure that we remain determined and
believing in ourselves,” coach Steve Fisher said. “When you lose a
game and then lose another, you start to wonder. And then you lose
a third game that everybody says you’re supposed to win, it can
wear on you.
“And the only way to get that hook out of your mouth, to spit it
out, is to work up a sweat in practice, come out and find a way to
get a win in the next one.”
A 45.6 percent shooting team, San Diego State has made only 43.0
percent of its shots – 28.3 percent (13 of 46) from 3-point range –
during the losing streak. The Aztecs shot 29 percent in the second
half at Air Force and went 3 of 16 from beyond the arc for the
Guard Chase Tapley had 17 points with nine rebounds while Tim
Shelton added 13 points and 11 boards Saturday for the Aztecs, who
hope to regain some of the swagger they had earlier in the
“Just get back to having fun like we had and get at it,” guard
Xavier Thomas said. “Having fun and working hard.”
San Diego State has enjoyed itself during a four-game winning
streak in this series, beating Wyoming (18-8, 4-6) by an average
margin of 26.8 points. Tapley and Jamaal Franklin each scored 12 as
the Aztecs shot 51.2 percent and held the Cowboys to 30.6 percent
from the field in a 52-42 road victory Jan. 24.
However, it’s uncertain if Franklin (16.0 points, 7.4 rebounds
per game) will miss a second straight contest because of a left
ankle sprain. Six-foot-11 senior starter Garrett Green also is
questionable after he sprained his ankle while posting 10 rebounds
in 18 minutes at Air Force. Those absences could pose more problems
for the Aztecs against a Wyoming defense that ranks among the
nation’s best giving up 54.2 points per game.
Tapley, averaging 15.8 points on the season, has totaled 38
while shooting 16 of 25 in two career home games versus
The Cowboys, who also have dropped four in a row at San Diego
State, look to avoid a fourth straight loss overall after falling
54-46 at Colorado State on Saturday.
Wyoming, which has shot 34.2 percent during the three-game skid,
is averaging 53.5 points and shooting 35.3 percent shooting in its
last four overall against San Diego State.
Cowboys junior forward Leonard Washington scored a team-high 12
points against the Aztecs last month, but he’s scored no more than
seven in any of his last three games.