No. 4 SDSU looks to end New Mexico’s home win streak

NCAA Basketball
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One of two lengthy winning streaks will end Wednesday in Albuquerque when New Mexico hosts fourth-ranked San Diego State.

The Aztecs (21-0, 10-0 Mountain West Conference) set program records for both the best start in history and the longest winning streak with a 71-67 win at UNLV on Sunday. San Diego State bypassed a 2010-11 team that opened the season 20-0 and the 2013-14 squad that won 20 straight after starting 1-1.

While no opponent has beaten San Diego State this season, no visiting squad has come away with a win from New Mexico’s fabled home venue in 2019-20. The Lobos (16-6, 5-4) moved to 13-0 at “The Pit” with an 86-59 blowout of San Jose State on Jan. 21. They are 15-0 at home dating back to a loss to Fresno State last February.

San Diego State survived a stiff test at UNLV, using a 10-2 run that spanned almost seven minutes midway through the second half to break a 45-45 tie. The margin of victory was the Aztecs’ closest since they outlasted San Jose State 59-57 on Dec. 8.

“Someone will beat us eventually,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said in his postgame press conference following game against the Runnin’ Rebels. “I hope not, but in likelihood it will happen. But they will have to play a hell of a game to beat this Aztec team.”

With 21 points in the win, San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn bumped his season scoring average to 16.8 per game. He leads the nation’s only undefeated team in both scoring and assists, averaging five per game of the latter.

“There was nothing easy, and it was a good win for us,” Flynn said postgame.

New Mexico, meanwhile, finds itself far back in the Mountain West regular-season title chase due to its struggles on the road.

A 96-74 loss Saturday at Nevada marked the Lobos’ fourth consecutive road defeat.

“We have to do a better job of protecting our own backboard and rebounding the basketball better, that’s something that we have to continue to work on and get better at,” New Mexico coach Paul Weir said.

Although the Lobos ranked 56th nationally in total rebounds through the weekend, they had allowed opponents to pull down 773, leaving New Mexico 290th in the country in that stat.

New Mexico also comes into the Wednesday contest having allowed 255 offensive rebounds, putting them 340th among 350 Division I teams. A concern for New Mexico’s presence on the glass is the dismissal of Carlton Bragg, who was averaging a double-double of 12.6 points and 10.3 rebounds before being removed from the team following an arrest on suspicion of DWI.

Without Bragg, the Lobos active rebounding leader is Corey Manigault, who is averaging just 4.9 boards per game.

Manigault is New Mexico’s second scoring option at 12 points per game, behind former Ohio State guard JaQuan Lyle, who averages 17.1 points and 4.9 assists per game.

In San Diego State, New Mexico faces a defense that was fourth in the nation through the weekend in opponents’ scoring (57.1 points per game), seventh in opponents’ field-goal percentage (.371) and tied for fifth in opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage (.276).

–Field Level Media

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