Aztecs take on Rams in MWC tilt

Feb 1, 2014 - 5:10 PM San Diego, CA ( - Head coach Steve Fisher shoots for his 300th win as the head coach of San Diego State as he leads the fifth-ranked team in the nation into battle against Colorado State in a Mountain West Conference matchup at Viejas Arena.

The run to 300 for coach Fisher has been made that much easier this season with a team that has won 16 straight decisions, the only setback coming against Arizona before the Wildcats reached the top spot in the national rankings.

Not only are the SDSU players trying to reach a milestone for their coach, the team is also expecting to move to 8-0 in conference play for the first time in program history as well. While the Aztecs were pushed to overtime the last time out, they still managed to take down Utah State at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Sunday by a score of 74-69, registering just the 13th home loss for USU in the last 137 games in Logan.

While the Aztecs sit atop the MWC standings all alone as they enter the weekend, Colorado State is stuck in the bottom half with just three wins in eight tries. Three nights ago the Rams challenged Nevada on the road in Reno and came up short in a 76-67 final at the Lawlor Events Center. The setback was the second straight and the third in four games for the program.

San Diego State still trails in the all-time series with the Rams by a count of 37-35, but the Aztecs won the first meeting of this season a month ago at Moby Arena by a score of 71-61, as Xavier Thames tallied 23 points and Josh Davis cleared 15 rebounds for the visitors. The victory snapped a two-game slide for SDSU in the building.

When it comes to playing in San Diego, the Aztecs are 22-12 versus CSU and have ripped off 10 straight wins dating back to 2004.

In a game that featured 10 ties and four lead changes, Colorado State trailed by just five points at the break versus Nevada earlier this week, but then the visitors went on to shoot only 30.6 percent from the floor and 2-of-13 behind the 3-point line over the final 20 minutes of action. Jon Octeus, who made good on all 12 attempts at the charity stripe, finished with 21 points, followed by Daniel Bejarano with a double-double consisting of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while J.J. Avila tacked on 12 points and eight boards before fouling out.

Despite shooting just 38.2 percent from the field in conference games, Bejarano is still the leading scorer in those outings for the Rams with 20.8 ppg, pulling down 8.0 rpg along the way and also handing out 21 assists. Avila, who has fouled out of two league bouts, checks in with 15.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg and a team-best 22 assists and 12 steals in eight MWC outings. After that pair the contributions become more erratic, even with Octeus (10.3 ppg) having been the high scorer the last time out.

In a hostile environment were very few visitors come out on the right side of decision, the Aztecs could have easily watched their winning streak come to an end against Utah State, but the team persisted and held on in overtime. Thames was the star of the show for the visitors as he scored a career-high 31 points, 10 of which came in overtime. The only other SDSU player in double figures was Winston Shepard with his 10 points, while Davis again was big on the glass with 12 rebounds.

Davis, a transfer from Tulane who has 39 career double-doubles, has been hitting the glass hard over the last couple of months and is currently enjoying a run of 13 straight games with double-digit rebounding, the longest active streak in the nation. Averaging 8.9 ppg and 11.6 rpg through 18 appearances, Davis is third on the roster in scoring behind Thames (17.6 ppg and Shepard (12.9 ppg), the duo having also combined to hand out 92 assists along the way.

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