UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (14-14) at No. 4 San Diego State Aztecs (26-0)
Saturday, February 22, 4:00 pm
Viejas Arena, San Diego California- CBS Sports TV
The San Diego State men’s basketball team welcomes the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels to Viejas Arena on Saturday.
In the previous matchup, SDSU beat UNLV 71-67.
The Runnin’ Rebels are coming off a dominant win over Colorado State, where they scored 80 points and held the Rams to only 56 points. Bryce Hamilton led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Amauri Hardy, who scored 11 and had six assists. Since last playing San Diego State, UNLV dropped to sixth place in the Mountain West standings. The team has lost three in a row and won three straight. Las Vegas brings a 14-14 record going into their match-up against San Diego State on Saturday afternoon.
In San Diego State’s previous game, they traveled to Boise State and steamrolled the Broncos 72-55. All of the Aztec starters scored in double digits. Junior guard Malachi Flynn led the way with 22 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Fifth-year senior transfers KJ Feagin and Yanni Wetzell contributed with 10 points and 14 points, respectively, on the night. Jordan Shackle and Matt Mitchell helped their team’s effort by putting up 12 points and 11 points, respectively. Mitchell and Wetzell stepped up on the boards, pulling down seven rebounds each. The Aztecs won their 26th consecutive game and increased their lead in the conference standings to five games over Utah State.
San Diego State’s coach Brian Dutcher spoke to the media in a postgame press conference about how his team combined their skills to defeat Boise State on the road and keep the nation’s longest winning streak intact. “This was a real good role performance. I (wrote on the board in the locker room) ‘play together, stay together.’ This is a hard environment to play in. We’ve lost our last three in (ExtraMile Arena). We were connected in both ends of the floor offensively and defensively. We were playing like five fingers on a hand, and it was just a magnificent performance by the Aztecs today,” Dutcher said.
When you bring five fingers together, it makes a fist, a combination that has helped San Diego State pummel its competition and remain unbeaten so far this season. Flynn spoke to the media after the game about how his team’s support has helped San Diego State to thrive this season. “I think we’re getting better every day just playing together, trusting each other. I think it’s been good for everyone, and the results prove it,” Flynn said.
Going into their last three games of their regular season, San Diego State is ranked fourth in the AP Top 25 Poll. Feb. 22 is a pivotal day across the college basketball landscape as the top-ranked Baylor Bears are set to face the third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Also, the second-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs are playing against the BYU Cougars, who are ranked 23rd in the nation. These marquee matchups guarantee that at least one, if not two, of the teams ranked ahead of SDSU will lose on Saturday. With a San Diego State win over UNLV, “The Men from Montezuma” have a chance to move up to one of the top-three spots in college basketball, which would be the highest-ranking in program history.
San Diego State is coming home to a sold-out Viejas Arena on Saturday looking to earn their 27th win of the season against their long-time conference rival at 4:30 p.m. An electric crowd is sure to be on hand.
Later in the week, on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m., SDSU hosts Colorado State for their final home game at Viejas Arena this season