The San Diego State Aztecs (16-5, 6-2 Mountain West) can't afford to look past the Utah State Aggies (12-8, 5-3 Mountain West) when the two teams meet on Saturday evening.
SDSU responded to a tough loss on the road in Fort Collins with a convincing win over the Fresno State Bulldogs at home on Tuesday, while the Aggies lathered it on the Wyoming Cowboys in Logan. While Utah State is considered the underdog in this one, they have enough weaponry to catch the Aztecs if they're napping.
You probably don't hear much about Aggie forward Jalen Moore, but the big-haired sophomore is quietly having one of the better offensive seasons in the conference. Moore has put up 15.5 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting and a 51.5 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc in eight conference games. He's also pulled down 7.1 rebounds per game and averaged 1.25 blocks in that span.
Between Moore, forward David Collette, and guard Darius Perkins, Utah State has a nice trio of talent. Collette is a sure hand inside with his conference-leading 56.9 percent field goal percentage, and he blocks nearly two shots per game. Perkins is third in the league with 3.5 assists per game as well.
There's no real dull spot in the Aztecs' razor sharp defense, but the Aggies have players that can produce as a unit and withstand the high-pressure defensive storm. If SDSU has an off-night scoring the rock, it'll makes things that much easier for the visitors.
The comforting part about the Aztecs' play of late is that they've had four players score in double figures in each of the last two games. Freshman Malik Pope turned heads off the bench against Colorado State with his 22-point performance, and Angelo Chol fought through a first-half 0-3 against Fresno to go 4-7 from the field in the second half and finish with 10 points.
SDSU's quartet of double-digit scorers against Fresno was even more exciting considering the team racked up just four assists throughout the entire contest. It's exciting because we got to see what a few players, namely Winston Shepard, Aqeel Quinn, and J.J. O'Brien, could do when initiating their own offense rather than attacking off of feeds from teammates.
If the Aztecs keep it rolling on both sides then they should have no problem scissoring through the Aggies at home. If they come out chucking bricks like they sometimes do, Utah State could very well give SDSU its first home loss of the year.
Score Prediction: 58-55. Aztecs win by a hair.