TCU-San Diego St. Preview
After watching his team barely escape a much weaker opponent during its last game, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher is hoping to see the Aztecs come out with a sense of urgency going forward.
That surely doesn't bode well for road-weary TCU.
Looking to extend their home winning streak to 10, the 17th-ranked Aztecs try for a 12th win in 13 games over the Horned Frogs on Saturday night.
Five days after its season-best 11-game run came to an end with a 77-60 loss at Colorado State, San Diego State (19-3, 5-1 Mountain West) found itself on the verge of another disappointing result Wednesday.
The Aztecs, though, rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit and held on for a 58-56 win over Boise State. The Broncos, who remained winless in conference play, missed a wide-open potential game-winning 3-pointer in the game's final seconds.
"When the shot was going up, I was just praying it rolled out, and it did. The basketball gods saved us," said junior Chase Tapley, who leads the team with an average of 16.0 points." ... We just can't have sequences like that at the end of game. We have to finish games off."
While losing to the league's last-place team at home would have been devastating, Fisher is hoping the narrow victory pays off in the long run.
"If our players truly believe what I'm saying, it will be good for us," Fisher said. "On March 10 or 11, or whenever the season is over ... I'm hoping that our players will say, `That Boise State game at home on Feb. 1 helped us.' If we view it that way, and I'm hoping we will.
"If we don't, I'm concerned about what's going to happen on Saturday, and on the following Saturday, and the following Wednesday, and on and on and on."
The Aztecs' lackluster play of late can be attributed to atrocious shooting. They've hit on only 31.3 percent - including a horrific 6-of-40 effort from 3-point range - over their last two games.
"The ball is just not going into the rim. It makes us have to work harder during practice by shooting and getting some extra shots up," Tapley said. " ... Our confidence is still there so we are just going to keep getting the same shots and they are going to fall."
A visit from TCU (13-8, 3-3) could help San Diego State get back on track. The Horned Frogs have lost four in a row on the road by an average of 17.5 points - during which opponents are shooting 53.3 percent against them.
TCU, though, has won three of four overall, most recently defeating Wyoming 58-52 on Wednesday. Forward Craig Williams had 13 points while fellow senior Hank Thorns scored 12.
"Defensively when we had to get stops we got stops. When we had to make shots, we made shots," coach Jim Christian said. "That's what February and March basketball is all about."
While the Horned Frogs have dropped 15 straight versus Top 25 foes and 18 such road matchups by an average of 19.2 points, they're feeling good heading into this matchup.
"If we rebound and play defense, we know we can beat any team," forward Adrick McKinney said. "As long as we keep that mind set we will be successful."
The Aztecs have outscored TCU by 10.1 points per game in taking six straight in the series. The Horned Frogs haven't won at San Diego State since a 105-61 rout Jan. 17, 1998.