San Diego, CA – Sporting a brand new Top-25 ranking, the San game homestand this evening, when they welcome the Redlands Bulldogs to Viejas Arena.
Steve Fisher's Aztecs have won 11 of their first 13 games this season with the two losses coming against nationally-ranked foes in Baylor (77-67) and Creighton (85-83). Since the loss to the Bluejays however, SDSU has won four straight games, including an 81-55 rout of Elon last time out.
The Aztecs have won 52 straight games against unranked opponents, so the Bulldogs are certainly fighting an uphill battle this evening. Redlands comes into this contest with a modest 4-5 overall record. The Bulldogs are a Division III program that play in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Redlands was victorious in its last outing, taking care of business against Pugent Sound in the Trinity National Invitational in San Antonio last week, 90-72.
This series actually dates back to 1925, but the two schools haven't met on the hardwood since 1968. San Diego State holds a 24-13 series advantage and has won the last five meetings.
The Bulldogs played extremely well in handing the Loggers their first loss of the season. Redlands shot a scorching 61.4 percent from the floor in the game and drained 11 three-pointers in the victory. The win was fueled by a first half that saw the Bulldogs drain 15-of-19 from the floor (.789). Stephen Call was outstanding in the win, netting 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Brian Kuklok poured in 17 points, while Jack Colston and Mychal Estrada chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively. The 90-point eruption is certainly not the norm for this team, as Redlands comes into this contest averaging a modest 71.4 ppg. Still, there is some scoring balance on the roster, as four Bulldogs are averaging double figures at the moment. Kuklok leads the way with 13.6 ppg. Call is a valuable asset off the bench with 12.3 ppg. Colston has been a force down low with a double-double of 10.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Tristan Kirk rounds out the top threats with 10.0 ppg.
The Aztecs are not an offensive juggernaut either. The team is efficient however, shooting .466 from the field en route to 73.3 ppg. In addition, San Diego State is outrebounding opponents by 4.7 boards per game. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double digits and provide the team with plenty of scoring options. Chase Tapley is the team's top sniper, averaging 17.4 ppg, while shooting .519 from the floor, including .515 from behind the arc (35-of-68). Jamaal Franklin adds 14.5 ppg, while Xavier Thames and James Rahon chip in with 12.0 and 10.5 ppg, respectively. Thames is the team's top distributor (5.4 apg) but is currently sidelined with a mild knee injury. Without their starting point guard in the lineup, the Aztecs started slow against Elon, but were able to turn it on and cruise to victory. Franklin finished the game with 19 points to lead the way. Tapley added 14, while Alec Williams and Garrett Green finished with 10 apiece.