San Diego State’s basketball team’s hopes stay alive

Eric Shannon

Eric Shannon
SDSU Daily Aztec

SAN DIEGO (U-WIRE) – The window of opportunity for the San Diego State men’s basketball team appears to be closing fast.

With three consecutive losses last week, that opening may have even slammed shut.

But with a victory at Wyoming on Tuesday night, SDSU kept its slim chances of finishing at the top of the Mountain West Conference standings alive.

Another win on Saturday wouldn’t exactly make the Aztecs conference frontrunners, but it does give them hope.

SDSU takes on first-place BYU at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Cox Arena.

The Cougars (21-5, 10-1 in MWC play) have been on a roll lately. They have won nine consecutive contests and with their 67-59 victory over Utah last night they have taken a two-game lead in the standings.

The Aztecs (17-9, 7-5) sit in fourth place, but with upcoming games against BYU and second-place UNLV, they have a chance to do some damage.

But the Cougars have been so hot, that before last night, they hadn’t played a close game since beating SDSU 59-56 on Jan. 23 in Provo, Utah. That was a streak of six consecutive double-digit victories for BYU.

“We’re looking forward to BYU,” freshman forward Billy White said. “They beat us the first time, but we’ve got them at home so we’ve just got to play defense and play our game and maybe we can get the win.”

The last time the teams played, the game was a scrappy, hard fought, defensive contest. Both teams shot the ball less than 37 percent from the field and 24 percent from behind the arc.

It would be no surprise if the rematch ends up the same type of game. Both teams regularly give offenses problems, and the Cougars even lead the MWC in allowing their opponents to shoot less than 39 percent from the field. And with those types of games, it often comes down to who makes plays in the final few minutes.

“We’re a good basketball team,” head coach Steve Fisher said. “You’ve got to be good, play well, get a little lucky and make plays down the stretch.”

The victory Tuesday ended a three-game losing streak for SDSU, and Fisher is hoping the team can use that as a stepping stone.

“The victory will do wonders for us,” he said. “We’re capable.

“You can’t win two if you don’t win one.”