All week long San Diego State was showing confidence. They earned their No. 21 ranking in the AP Poll by playing a tough non-conference schedule, and they have earned much more than that by knocking off No. 16 ranked Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse 61-57.
Kansas had a 68-game winning streak at home against non-conference opponents dating back to Nov. 15, 2006. The Aztecs have broken that streak while extending their own 104-game winning streak of closing out games when leading by five minutes.
One of the keys to pulling off an upset on the road is not getting behind early and trying to play catch up. The Aztecs last trailed 8-9 early in the first half. They built up a lead from there and hung on to take a six point lead at halftime. The Aztecs did have to sit Spencer, Josh Davis and Xavier Thames for extended minutes in the first half as they all picked up two early fouls.
This game was strength against strength. The Aztecs played their game, their style, the way they like to play and knocked off one of the elite teams in the country. It was a war in the trenches, and San Diego State would not be denied.
Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid is a projected lottery pick in the next NBA draft. He played well. Aztecs sophomore Skylar Spencer was just as good, if not better. He stepped up from his season average 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and six blocks and was named the Aztec player of the game. He is becoming the type of dominant big man that few teams have.
Josh Davis played an incredible game as well. He finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds. It was the type of game Aztec fans were hoping he would have against Arizona earlier in the season. It is the type of game Aztecs fans are growing accustomed to from Davis, who is making double-doubles the norm.
Aztecs held the Jayhawks to under 30 percent shooting from the field. Freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins scored 14 points on just 4-of-14 shooting and 0-for-4 on three point shot attempts. Frank Mason came off the bench for the Jayhawks and his 14 points helped keep them in the game.
San Diego State held a surprising 51-39 rebounding edge. The rebounding difference was just three at the half. It was the nine rebound advantage in the second half that enabled the Aztecs to hold onto the victory.
Xavier Thames led the Aztecs in scoring with 16 points, which included four clutch free throws in the final 10 seconds. Winston Shepard had nine points and four rebounds.
Next up, the Aztecs are home to take on Boise State on Wednesday, Jan. 8.