No. 7 SDSU continues pursuit of perfection in Fresno

NCAA Men's Basketball
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Undefeated and seventh-ranked San Diego State aims to sweep the season series against Fresno State and move another win closer to the program’s all-time best start Tuesday with a road contest at Save Mart Center.

The Aztecs (17-0, 6-0 Mountain West Conference) sit just three wins shy of tying the program’s record 20-0 start from 2010-11. They remained one of only two undefeated teams in college basketball with an 83-65 rout of Boise State on Saturday.

San Diego State’s 83 points were the most the team scored since a Dec. 18 blowout of NAIA San Diego Christian, and the highest point total earned against a Division I opponent since an 83-73 defeat of Iowa on Nov. 29.

The Aztecs shot 9 of 19 from 3-point range in Saturday’s win, paced by 5-of-7 shooting from KJ Feagin, who scored a season-high 23 points.

“When you’re making (3-pointers) early and they have to run out to take the three away, then you get everything,” Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher said in his postgame news conference. “You get penetration, you throw it in the post, then they’re afraid you’re making threes so they’re leery of helping too much because you’re going to kick out and get a three.”

On the season, San Diego State is hitting 38.5 percent from beyond the arc, 17th in the nation.

The 3-pointer would did not fall for the Aztecs in their Jan. 1 meeting with Fresno State at Viejas Arena. They made just 3 of 12.

Instead, San Diego State relied on the suffocating defense that has been its hallmark throughout its perfect start. The Aztecs held the Bulldogs to 18-of-52 shooting from the floor (34.6 percent), including 4 of 20 from deep, en route to a 61-52 win.

Fresno State (5-11, 1-4) suffered through another offensively anemic performance its last time out, shooting 24 of 64 from the floor, 37.5 percent, in a 78-64 loss at New Mexico on Jan. 7.

Both the abundance of misses and from where on the floor they came vexed the Bulldogs.

“We’re 13 of 30 on layups and dunks, and they’re open,” Fresno State coach Justin Hutson told the Fresno Bee following the loss. “When we get to the basket and we have layups, we have to finish them.”

The Bulldogs scored their first Mountain West win on Jan. 4, knocking off San Jose State 79-64. New Williams tied program and conference records with 10 made 3-pointers in the victory.

“As a shooter, you just keep shooting so when you miss one you think the next one’s going in,” Williams said in the postgame news conference. “The next-play mentality as a team is the shooter’s mentality. It’s always ‘next shot.'”

Returning to action after a weeklong layoff, a fresh Williams will aim for more production than he had last time out vs. San Diego State. He finished with five points on 2-of-12 shooting in the New Year’s Day loss.

While Fresno State is playing for the first time since last Tuesday, San Diego State will play its third game in six days. The Aztecs beat Wyoming on the road last Wednesday before Saturday’s rout of Boise State.

–Field Level Media

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