No. 22 San Diego State out for more road success at Nevada


San Diego State returned to the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday as the No. 22 team after winning 10 of its last 11 games while sitting in first place in the Mountain West Conference.

The visiting Aztecs will try to show they have staying power on Tuesday night when they meet Nevada in Reno, Nev.

The Aztecs (17-4, 8-1 Mountain West) held a Top 25 ranking only once out of the previous seven weeks after starting the season ranked through the first five weeks of the season. San Diego State climbed as high as No. 17 for two weeks in November.

While Nevada is not ranked, the Wolf Pack (16-6, 6-3) were able to heighten the anticipation of Tuesday’s game following an upset of then-No. 25 New Mexico 97-94 in double overtime last week, which knocked the Lobos out of the polls.

The Aztecs are 5-0 in true road games, including a win at Stanford on Nov. 15 and away victories over Mountain West foes UNLV, Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force.

San Diego State improved to 11-1 at home Saturday with a 72-51 win over San Jose State.

“Another good home victory,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “We are playing together more. I think it was a really solid performance.”

The Aztecs held the Spartans to 0-of-14 shooting from the field in the final 10 minutes of the first half. They finished the half with a 23-5 run to take a 33-14 lead. San Diego State opened the second half on another run, outscoring the Spartans 13-5 over the opening 4:14 to take a 46-19 lead.

Keshad Johnson scored 16 points and had eight rebounds after posting double-doubles in wins in the previous two games against Utah State (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Air Force (13 points, 10 rebounds).

“He’s at another level right now,” Dutcher said of Johnson. “Had we left him in, he might have had ten rebounds (against San Jose State). … Keshad’s playing at another level, and we’re better because of it.”

Nevada is searching for consistency. The Wolf Pack have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.

After the upset of New Mexico, they absorbed a 68-62 loss at UNLV on Saturday. Nevada, which averaged 10.5 turnovers entering the game, had 19 against the Rebels. UNLV scored 18 points off those turnovers.

The Wolf Pack made 41.2 percent (7 of 17) of their shots from 3-point range, but they were 34.2 percent (13 of 38) inside the arc.

San Diego State is going for the season sweep over Nevada after beating the Wolf Pack 74-65 at home Jan. 10.

The Aztecs forced Nevada into only eight turnovers in that game, but they scored 14 points off them in transition.

“Our guys have to handle playing up-tempo,” Nevada coach Steve Alford said. “We were brutal against San Diego State in transition (in the first game). We can’t afford to do that.”

Kenan Blackshear scored 14 points in Nevada’s loss at UNLV. He also had six assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Blackshear surpassed the 100-assist mark for the season in the loss.

–Field Level Media

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