Long Beach St.-San Diego St. Preview
San Diego State had managed to overcome its poor shooting performances this season - until its latest game.
The 18th-ranked Aztecs' next opponent, Long Beach State, has had some subpar efforts of its own lately and carries a winless road record into Wednesday night's visit to Viejas Arena.
San Diego State (6-2) has shot worse than 38.0 percent in four games, but had won the first three before a 49-36 loss at Washington on Sunday. The Aztecs connected at an abysmal 20.4 percent against the Huskies and went 2 of 15 from 3-point range while scoring their fewest points since joining Division I in 1970-71.
Holding their seventh consecutive opponent to less than 39.0 percent shooting couldn't bail them out, nor a 21-10 advantage on the offensive glass. Leading scorer Winston Shepard, who had a team-best seven points, remains San Diego State's lone player averaging in double figures (10.3 ppg) but has totaled 11 points in his last two games.
"I can't remember ever going 20 percent," forward J.J. O'Brien said. "There's been times we just haven't been able to make shots and we've been able to rely a lot on our defense to get wins, relying on our rebounding to get wins. Today just wasn't our day for that."
If those woes continue, Wednesday's game might not be very watchable. Long Beach State (5-5) is shooting a combined 39.1 percent in its last four games, but it's earned two wins in that stretch and pushed Washington to double overtime in an 80-70 loss Nov. 28.
The 49ers, who shot 49.5 percent in the first six games, connected went 0 for 8 from 3-point range in a 74-45 drubbing at Stephen F. Austin on Friday. Leading scorer Mike Caffey (17.6 ppg) was held to a season-low eight points in the first of his team's season-high six consecutive games away from home.
Long Beach has had one game on its own floor since Nov. 21, a 68-57 win over Nevada on Dec. 3, and is 0-4 on the road. The 49ers are facing a ranked team for the first time this season and have lost nine straight to AP Top 25 teams since a 68-58 win over No. 14 Xavier on Dec. 22, 2011.
This stretch outside the Walter Pyramid may be one of the most challenging in school history since the 49ers will also face No. 4 Louisville, No. 8 Texas and No. 24 St. John's.
San Diego State outlasted Long Beach State 77-73 in overtime in the most recent meeting on Nov. 19, 2011. The Aztecs have claimed four in a row in the series and 12 of the last 13 meetings.
San Diego State, winner of 18 straight home games, also owns a 44-game winning streak against in-state opponents and has not lost consecutive non-conference games in the same season since defeats to Arizona and Saint Mary's on Dec. 10 and 13, 2008.