No. 4 Aztecs set to battle New Mexico after defeat of Air Force

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: KSL Sports

The San Diego State men’s basketball team reached the second week of February and remain the only team in college basketball with a perfect record.

San Diego stretched their win total to 24 with an 89-74 victory over Air Force on Saturday night in Colorado. KJ Feagin led the Aztecs in scoring with 21 points and shot 5-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. Jordan Shackle scored 18 points, Malachi Flynn scored 17 points with eight rebounds, and Matt Mitchell scored 16, including a pivotal base-line 3-pointer with less than five minutes left in the game.

In the post-game press conference after defeating Air Force, San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher emphasized the significance of Matt Mitchell’s timely shooting. “Until Matt Mitchell hit that unbelievable three in the corner, it was a game. I mean, it was tight. With two seconds on the shot clock, Matt went into the corner, caught it, jacked it up, and made it, and it started the run. Then Malachi (Flynn) hit some threes. We were 14-of-27 on threes. If you don’t win shooting that percentage, something is wrong,” Dutcher said.

KJ Feagin spoke to the media after the game about the alterations the Aztecs made to cope with the high altitude against Air Force at Clune Arena. “In the second half, after I hit back to back threes, it was the right time to pull me because I was really, really tired, and wasn’t getting a lot of lift on my shots after that. It’s a shortness of breath thing, and it just hits you and has to work through it. They rested me at the right time, and it allowed me to come back in and hit a dagger three,” Feagin said.

The San Diego State men’s basketball team is ranked as the fourth-best team in the country and has the strongest win-loss record in the NCAA. San Diego coach Brian Dutcher distributes playing time to multiple members of his roster, and that adds to his team’s depth and self-confidence as a unit.

Malachi Flynn spoke at the post-game press conference about the benefit of having trustworthy scorers on the Aztec’s roster. “I’m never going to stop being aggressive, that’s who I am. I know shots are going to fall at some point. That is just how it goes. But if my teammates are rolling, I’ll find them too. If I stop being aggressive, I think I’m doing a disservice to the team because that is when I am at my best,” Flynn said.

On Tuesday, the Aztecs come home to Viejas Arena to play against the New Mexico Lobos, who they beat just two weeks ago at “The Pit” in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since last playing San Diego, the Lobos lost in an away-game to Fresno State, and then later in the week, they destroyed Wyoming at home 97-68. The Aztecs are looking to collect their twenty-fifth win of the season. San Diego wants to increase its lead over the rest of the Mountain West Conference and strengthen its position as the fourth-ranked team in the nation. Tip-off for SDSU vs. New Mexico is at 8 p.m. in front of an expected capacity-crowd at Viejas Arena.

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