The San Diego State Aztecs (13-4, 3-1 Mountain West) will host the UNLV Runnin' Rebels (10-7, 1-3 Mountain West) in a matinee show on Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena. The Aztecs are looking to regain their footing atop the conference standings while the Rebels, who have just one conference win through four contests, are fighting to avoid conference irrelevancy.
UNLV traveled to Taco Bell Arena on Tuesday and nearly stole a game from the Boise State Broncos. After outscoring the Broncos 38-30 in the second half to force overtime, the Rebels melted like the cheese on a Chalupa, turning the ball over six times in five minutes. Mountain West Connection writer Tyler Bischoff offered a methodical breakdown of each overtime turnover in his latest piece.
Rashad Vaughn led all UNLV scorers with 20 points on 6-14 shooting from the floor, including his 2-8 clip on 3-point attempts. Vaughn also snatched up eight rebounds and dished out four assists. Patrick McGaw was right behind Vaughn with 17 points of his own on 6-10 shooting. McGaw poured in 12 of his 17 points from behind the arc thanks to a 4-7 shooting night from deep. In addition to Vaughn and McGaw, the Rebels had two more players score in double digits.
SDSU flew into Laramie on Wednesday night and took care of the 25th ranked Cowboys 60-52, giving Wyoming its first conference loss of the season. The Aztecs looked as if they were breaking a large piece off of their offensive cocoon, but when they finished the final nine minutes and 57 seconds without scoring a bucket that wasn't a free throw, it was clear that they aren't quite ready to fly.
Aqeel Quinn led all SDSU scorers with 14 points on a pretty dry 4-15 shooting night. Trey Kell led the second unit, which outscored the Cowboys' bench 24-0, with 12 points thanks to a healthy 9-10 from the free-throw line.
Although they aren't playing to their full potential, the Aztecs are playing better than they were at the beginning of conference play, and have improved in each of their last two games. After flying to the Northwest and bouncing Wyoming from its new-found top 25 spot in big brotherly fashion, SDSU should come back home ready to roar in its last home game before the start of the spring semester.
A 14-point win should indicate the Aztecs are coming out of their slump, but a win of seven points or less should put all the doubts in your head you had entering the Wyoming game.
Score prediction: Somewhere in between the two, 59-48. Because why wouldn't the 2014-2015 Aztecs keep your spirits in limbo?