The No. 5 ranked Aztecs (19-1) captured a 65-56 home victory to sweep the season series with the Colorado State Rams (12-10) and improved their winning streak to 18. Additionally this was the first season for the Aztecs to start conference play 8-0.
For head coach Steve Fisher, it was his 300th win at San Diego State. It took seven years for Fisher to get the first 100 after taking on a team at the bottom of the standings. He started with a losing record as the Aztecs coach at 100-105. The next 100 wins only took four years, and his record was 100-44. And this last 100 wins took less than four years with a record of 100-22.
While the San Diego State brand of basketball this season isn't always glamorous, they followed their winning script of solid defense, volume free throws and low turnovers. Colorado State leading scorer for the season J.J. Avila was held scoreless for the first 26 minutes of the game. He finished with nine points, which is half of his season average.
Going into the game, Josh Davis was not available for the Aztecs due to a bruised knee in practice. Davis is tied for second in rebounding in the country. Colorado State is an excellent rebounding team, so Davis' absence opened up a potential opportunity for them. And Fisher didn't replace Davis in the starting lineup with big James Johnson but went small with Aqeel Quinn. Dwayne Polee II, who likely would have picked up some of Davis' minutes, was sidelined with an illness and played just two minutes.
Point guard Xavier Thames continued to pace the Aztecs in scoring with 24 points. Shepard had 17 points and six rebounds. In his first start as an Aztec, Quinn recorded eight points. Dakarai Allen led the bench in scoring with six points.
Jon Octeus tried to fill the Rams scoring gap left by J.J. Avila and Daniel Bejarano, who combined for nine points. Bejarano got into an argument with head coach Larry Eustachy just three minutes into the game and sat out from then on. Octeus took over in the second half and helped cut the lead to as little as six points. Octeus finished with a team-high 24 points. Thames made the last four free throws for the Aztecs down the stretch to claim the nine point win.
This was a rare game in which three-point shooting was a non-factor. The Aztecs didn't make a three-point shot for the first time since Dec. 13, 2010. Colorado State went just 2-of-14 on their three-point shot attempts.
Next up the Aztecs play at Boise State on Wednesday, February 5 at 6:15 pm PT.