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Wolf Pack Preview: Nevada Basketball hits the road for its toughest test to date with No. 7 San Diego State

The Pack look for its first road victory versus SDSU since joining the MWC, going winless in six tries.

Nick Aberle-Nevada Athletics Department

Nevada (11-7, 4-2) vs. No. 7 San Diego State (18-0, 7-0)

When: Saturday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. PST

Where: Viejas Arena in San Diego, CA

TV: CBS Sports Network

Matchup Series: SDSU leads 17-6

Breakdown:

Nevada men’s basketball (11-7, 4-2) hits the road for one game to take on the No. 7 San Diego State Aztecs (18-0, 7-0). After No. 4 Auburn’s 83-64 loss versus Alabama Wednesday, the Aztecs stand as the last remaining unbeaten team in Division-I.

San Diego State’s 18-0 start is the second-best start in school history (They started 20-0 in 2010-11). The Aztecs are looking to start 8-0 in conference play for the third time since joining the Mountain West, the first since 2015-16.

The Aztecs defeated Fresno State 64-55 in its most recent victory. Malachi Flynn led the squad with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

SDSU is totaling 75.2 points per game compared to Nevada’s 74.9, placing No. 5 and No. 6 in the conference respectively. SDSU is netting 46.9 percent of its shots, including 37.4 percent from deep — both ranking within the Top-3 in the conference.

What has been impressive when watching the Aztecs is their defensive prowess. They are suffocating opponents in the scoring column, holding them to 56.9 points per game which sits atop the conference — 5th-best in the nation — on only 37.0 percent shooting.

In SDSU’s most recent victory, they held the Bulldogs to 36.4 percent shooting. That was the 10th time SDSU has held an opponent to below 37.0 percent shooting this season, only trailing West Virginia (11), Rutgers (11) and Yale (12) for most in the nation.

Both Nevada and San Diego State do an incredible job defending shots on the perimeter. The Pack have held its opponents to 26.6 percent shooting from deep compared to SDSU’s 26.7 percent, which rank No. 7 and 8 nationally in that category.

Flynn has led the charge in his first season of eligibility with SDSU. The Washington State transfer ranks Top-10 in the conference in both scoring (16.6 ppg) and three-point shooting (.410). He is dishing out a conference-best 4.9 assists. The 6-foot-2 guard is also totaling 1.7 steals per game, which is second-best in the conference.

NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Fresno State
San Diego State Aztecs guard Malachi Flynn (22) shoots the ball against the Fresno State Bulldogs
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Flynn is the only player in the nation to average at least 16.5 points, 4.0 assists with an AST/TO ratio of 3 or better.

Yanni Wetzell (11.9 ppg) and Matt Mitchell (11.1 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for San Diego State.

Wetzell, also in his first season of eligibility with SDSU, has made a big contribution down low. The 6-foot-10 forward, previously at St. Mary’s University and Vanderbilt, is shooting the ball at a 60.4 percent clip. He is second on the team in rebounding at 5.9 rebounds per game. Wetzell has been good on the offensive glass, hauling an impressive 2.1 offensive rebounds per game, which ties a team-high.

Mitchell is shooting 44.7 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from deep. The 6-foot-6 forward is bringing down 5.1 rebounds with 1.1 steals per game.

Due to a blood clot injury to forward Nathan Mensah — an injury that can potentially halt his return for the remainder of the season Mitchell was recently slotted into the starting lineup. In the five games Mitchell’s started, he is averaging 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game.

Nevada is coming off a tight 68-67 win at home versus Wyoming. Jalen Harris had the game-winning layup with nine seconds left. He led the team Nevada with 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting.

The Wolf Pack are winless in six tries at Viejas Arena since joining the Mountain West. They have at least one road win against every other team in the conference.

Harris leads the Wolf Pack in scoring at 18.4 points per game, only trailing Boise State’s Derrick Alston (19.5 ppg) for most in the conference. He is shooting 42.9 percent from the floor with a 34.1 three-point percentage.

The junior guard has tallied double-digit scoring in 14 consecutive games, averaging 19.9 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting in that span.

Jazz Johnson has the second-highest scoring on the team — No. 4 in the conference — at 17.1 points per game. He remains atop the conference in total three-point makes (59) and three-point makes per game (3.3), netting 43.4 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Lindsey Drew is the only other Pack player to eclipse double-digit scoring at 12.1 points, also dishing out a team-best 4.5 assists per game. He is shooting a career-best 50.6 percent from the floor and 40.3 percent from deep.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Nevada:

San Diego State:

Additional Links:

SDSU Game Notes: https://go.aws/2TATnb2

Live Stats: https://bit.ly/38gKnvv

Nevada looks for first road victory versus SDSU since joining the conference.