NCAA BK

Wed, Jan 15, 2014 - 10:00 PM ET
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Fresno St.-San Diego St. Preview

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After some solid bench play helped San Diego State extend the second-best start in school history, the opportunity for coach Steve Fisher to utilize his reserves might again come during its next Mountain West Conference contest.

Looking to win their 14th in a row, the No. 10 Aztecs try to continue their recent success over a Fresno State squad that hopes to avoid a seventh straight road defeat Wednesday night.

San Diego State (14-1, 3-0) overcame an opponent season-high 51.9-percent shooting at Air Force on Sunday by hitting half of its 14 3-point attempts, committing just seven turnovers and outrebounding the Falcons 39-30 to earn a 79-72 victory.

"Anytime you get a win anywhere (in the Mountain West), you have to take a deep breath and be appreciative of that you got one," said Fisher, whose team's 13-game winning streak matched the second-longest in school history. "You have to find ways to win."

Only the 20-0 start by the 2010-11 Aztecs is better than this season's group that won 10 straight by an average of 25.3 points before beating then-No. 16 Kansas, Boise State and Air Force by a combined 14.

JJ O'Brien had 18 points with 11 rebounds and Xavier Thames scored 16 on Sunday to pace five Aztecs with at least 13 points. San Diego State also benefited from an 18-6 advantage in bench scoring.

"We talked about the fact that this was a team victory ... and underlined team," Fisher said. "We've got good people coming off the bench and we've utilized them."

Freshman forward Matt Shrigley hit three key 3-pointers while scoring all 13 of his points off in the bench in the second half. Backup guard Aqeel Quinn hit one of three attempts from beyond the arc but had four rebounds and two assists while matching a season high with 26 minutes.

"When you play the way we would like to play ... that's 94 feet ... you better have the ability to substitute and rest people," Fisher said. "We do."

Shrigley is averaging 6.9 points but shooting 41.1 percent from 3-point range (23 of 56) - second among Aztec players who have attempted at least 10 shots from 3.

Fisher's bench could see more time against Fresno State (8-9, 1-3), which has dropped six in a row to the Aztecs, including three consecutive road games by an average of 20.4 points. San Diego State has won 12 straight at home against unranked opponents.

That all likely doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs, who have lost six consecutive road games by an average of 13.3 points since opening with a 98-97 overtime win at UC-Irvine.

Coming off a 71-65 win over Air Force last Wednesday, Fresno State shot 34.6 percent and was on the wrong end of a 14-1 run that concluded its 76-57 loss at Colorado State on Saturday.

Senior guard Tyler Johnson has averaged 22.7 points on 23-of-41 shooting in the last three games. He had team highs of 14 points and eight rebounds in the Bulldogs' 75-53 defeat at San Diego State last season.

With a 66-49 loss to then-No. 16 Florida on Dec. 21, Fresno State has dropped 12 straight against ranked opponents since a 58-52 victory over then-No. 14 Oklahoma State on Feb. 10, 2002.

Tagged: San Diego, Fresno State, San Diego State, Air Force

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