San Diego St.-Colorado St. Preview
San Diego State has prided itself on outstanding road play in the Mountain West Conference the last two seasons. Its success in Fort Collins goes back much further.
The 13th-ranked Aztecs look to win their seventh in a row at Colorado State and 12th straight overall Saturday.
San Diego State is trying to start 5-0 in conference play for a second straight season. The defending Mountain West regular-season co-champions have a one-game lead over second-place UNLV.
The Aztecs (18-2, 4-0) kept rolling with a 52-42 win at Wyoming on Tuesday. Jamaal Franklin had 12 points and 11 rebounds for San Diego State, which overcame a rough first half by shooting 57.1 percent in the final 20 minutes while holding the Cowboys to seven field goals.
The Aztecs trailed by three at the break but opened the second half with a 16-4 run.
"We're 4-0 in conference right now, that's a beautiful start,'' forward Tim Shelton said.
San Diego State held an opponent to fewer than 45 points for the second straight game.
"... the best thing we do is defend," coach Steve Fisher said. "We did it tonight a little bit better than they did."
Fisher's team also does pretty well away from home. San Diego State held its last two road opponents below 40 percent shooting and has won nine of its last 10 conference road games.
The Aztecs have taken nine straight and 14 of 15 overall against Colorado State in addition to their six-game road run in the series. However, they'd like to avoid a repeat of the scare they got in Fort Collins on Feb. 2, when they needed D.J. Gay's jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining to escape with a 56-54 win.
San Diego State was ranked seventh at the time, and the near upset will be in the players' minds when they return Saturday.
"We just have to go in there and match their intensity and just play our type of basketball and I think we'll be fine," junior guard Chase Tapley said. "That was a hard-fought game. Colorado State always plays hard and they don't give up."
Colorado State (13-6, 2-2) is 9-1 at home, including 2-0 in conference games, but it's coming off a pair of road losses by a combined 52 points.
The Rams committed 20 turnovers in an 85-52 defeat to New Mexico on Wednesday. They are entering a difficult stretch with their next game at No. 12 UNLV on Wednesday.
"A season-low five assists, and a season-high 20 turnovers is just an easy example to show we're trying to do too much with the dribble, so we turn it over," coach Tim Miles told the Rams' official website. "We don't share the ball, and we're just not a very good team right now."
Leading scorer Wes Eikmeier's struggles continued as he scored 11 points and went 5 of 13 from the field. He's totaled 18 points and shot 27.6 percent in the last three games after averaging 17.4 points in the first 16.
Colorado State has lost 16 straight to ranked opponents.