In the only game this season between No. 5 San Diego State (21-1) and Nevada (12-12), the Aztecs performed the way the fifth ranked team in the country should when facing an unranked opponent at home. They held a six point halftime lead and extended it to double digits in the second half to cruise to a 73-58 win.
Once again it was the Aztecs defensive pressure that disrupted the Wolf Pack and held them to 16 points below their season average. Nevada's leading scorer, Deonte Burton was held to 11 points, 10 points below his average. Jerry Evans, Jr. had 17 points for Nevada and Cole Huff added 11 points. The Aztecs forced 12 turnovers and only committed four turnovers. They had seven steals but only gave up two steals.
Xavier Thames led the way for the Aztecs with a quiet 17 points, including 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Winston Shepard had a heavily taped left wrist after injurying it against Boise State on Wednesday night. He said: "I haven't been able to shoot and work on my game as much as I normally do." Tonight, it didn't show. Shepard was 7-of-10 from the field, scored 16 points and pulled down four rebounds. Josh Davis had nine points and seven rebounds.
The knock against San Diego State has been low field goal percentage. Tonight was the second game in a row where the Aztecs shot better than 50% from the field. Another area of concern has been free throw shooting. Again, not a problem tonight as San Diego State made 77% of their free throws. If you are looking for a weak spot, it would be their three-point shooting. As a team they shot just 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.
The loss for Nevada puts them in a race for third as San Diego State and New Mexico have separated themselves from the rest of the conference. The Aztecs are 10-0 in Mountain West play and the Lobos are 9-1. The rest of the league has at least four losses in conference.
Next up the Aztecs play on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7,200 feet in Laramie, Wyom., in their only contest this season against the Cowboys.