SDSU vs. UNLV
Sunday, January 26 (1:00 p.m.) CBS Sports Network
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas- Nevada
The San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team travels to Las Vegas to face the UNLV Rebels on Sunday, which is the first of two road games this week for the Aztecs. These two games will prove to be a tough stretch for SDSU.
Playing at UNLV is always a struggle for Mountain West teams. The Rebels are 4-0 at home this year against MWC opponents with a 15-point average margin of victory. UNLV scored 98 and 99 points in their two previous home contests. The Aztecs will have their work cut out for them.
Do not let UNLV’s 11-10 record fool you. They are certainly better than their overall record shows. A 6-2 conference record puts UNLV one spot behind SDSU in the Mountain West standings. The Rebels are 7-2 in their last nine games, so they’re playing their best basketball right now. The Aztecs will be prepared.
UNLV did lose their last game at Nevada 86-72, so they’ll be hungry to get back in the win column. Guard Bryce Hamilton scored a team-high 26 points off the bench in the loss. It is very rare to see a bench player score over twenty points, especially on the road. Guard Amari Hardy also had a great game offensively, scoring 23 points. These points were the bulk of the scoring for the Rebels, as the rest of the team only scored 23 points.
Four players for Nevada scored in double-digits against UNLV. Jallen Harris and his 28 points led Nevada. The San Diego State Aztecs tend to score as a team, so they will look to get multiple players in double-digits scoring-wise, similar to what Nevada did to the Runnin’ Rebels.
San Diego State will need to watch out for Cheikh Mbacke Diong. The big-man is UNLV’s best rebounder, averaging nine rebounds per game. He also averages 8.9 PPG, so he can get it in the hoop as well. Yanni Wetzell will have his hands full with Diong in a battle inside.
The Aztecs are still undefeated on the season, sitting at 20-0.
In their last game, SDSU dominated a weak Wyoming team 72-55. Four Aztecs scored in double figures, led by junior guard Malachi Flynn. Matt Mitchell, Yanni Wetzell, and Jordan Shakel were the other Aztecs with over ten points in the contest. Coach Dutcher will rely on those four players to score against UNLV once again and to keep the streak alive.
The national spotlight is on SDSU. A 21-0 start is on the line for the San Diego State Aztecs. There has only been one 20-0 start in program history, which occurred in 2011 with a Kawhi Leonard-led team. A win against UNLV would mark the best beginning in program history, which is quite the accomplishment.
Dominic is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Journalism. He also is the producer and co-host of the “Padres EVT Podcast.”