USAFA, CO (Sports Network) - Having had a week to enjoy their massive blowout
win over 15th-ranked New Mexico at home, the 22nd-ranked San Diego State
Aztecs now set their sights on the Air Force Falcons in Mountain West
Conference play at Clune Arena.
Not only did the Aztecs crush New Mexico last weekend, 55-34, the victory
marked the first time in 30 years that SDSU was able to defeat league foes in
back-to-back outings by at least 20 points. On Jan. 23, the team throttled
Nevada in Reno, 78-57, which means the Aztecs are now 4-2 in conference play
under head coach Steve Fisher, who is now in his 14th season with the program.
As for the Falcons, a squad which is also 4-2 in league play, they were in
action just a few nights ago against Fresno State and used the opportunity to
deliver a 62-50 victory at home. The win was the fourth in a row for the
Academy, one shy of the season-long five-game run the team put together to
kick off the 2012-13 campaign.
San Diego State has won eight of the last nine meetings against the Falcons,
but last season the teams split their two matchups and in games played at the
USAF Academy, the hosts trail by only three games, 17-14.
The defensive effort by the Aztecs last week versus New Mexico was nothing
short of amazing as the team tied the program record for fewest points allowed
at the Division I level. The Lobos shot a dismal 25.0 percent from the floor
in the outing as only one player scored in double figures and just two made
more than a single field goal. For SDSU, JJ O'Brien registered a double-double
with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, followed by Jamaal Franklin with
10 points on a mere 4-of-16 shooting from the floor, the team surviving with
40.4 percent accuracy overall. Franklin, who is playing in excess of 33
minutes per game, leads the team in scoring with 17.4 ppg and is also first
with 9.4 rpg, 64 assists and 29 steals, but all of that does not cover up the
fact that he has connected on only 26.6 percent of his 3-point tries this
season. Chase Tapley, who is dealing with a wrist injury at the moment, is
second in scoring with 14.6 ppg and has been much more efficient out on the
perimeter at 41.1 percent.
The Falcons turned the ball over 15 times and shot just 5-of-17 behind the 3-
point line against Fresno State on Wednesday night, but still the team played
well enough to post a double-digit win. Todd Fletcher led all scorers with 19
points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 showing
beyond the arc, while Michael Lyons chipped in with 15 points for the hosts.
Against the last three league opponents, the Falcons have limited each of them
to 50 points or less, which is a huge turn-around from having allowed 80 to
Boise State and 79 to Colorado State in back-to-back decisions last month.
Over six league bouts the competition is posting 66.3 ppg, which is only
fractions of a point less than what the Falcons are generating at the moment.
Lyons (15.5 ppg), Mike Fitzgerald (14.3 ppg) and Fletcher (10.7 ppg) have
combined to hit 26-of-61 behind the 3-point line to give the squad a perimeter
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