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Feb 26, 2024 1:50 am

No. 19 San Diego State won’t look past lowly San Jose State

Jaedon LeDee

There are no more easy games for No. 19 San Diego State this season.

Next up for the Aztecs is a Mountain West Conference rematch against San Jose State on Tuesday night in San Diego.

San Jose State (9-19, 2-13 MWC) enters the week last in the 11-team conference and would appear an light target on paper, but San Diego State (21-7, 10-5) needed a blocked shot with two seconds left to pull out an 81-78 victory against the Spartans in their first meeting on Jan. 19 in San Jose.

“There are no gimmes in college basketball,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “I always say to the team, ‘It’s not who you’re playing, it’s how you’re playing that matters.'”

The Aztecs had lost five of their previous six conference road games when they arrived at Fresno State on Saturday, but looked comfortable while cruising to a 73-41 victory, keeping them a half game behind Utah State and Boise State for first place.

San Diego State has three regular-season games remaining and Utah State and Boise State have four each. The Aztecs play just one game this week, while Utah State and Boise State play two each.

San Diego State traveled to Utah State last Tuesday and lost 68-63 to split the season series. The Aztecs host Boise State in the regular-season finale on March 6.

“If we’re going to be true to who we are, we have to be playing our best basketball in late February,” Dutcher said. “Our goal is to continue it for three more games and build some momentum heading into March.”

San Diego State power forward Jaedon LeDee, who led the way against Fresno State with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in just 26 minutes, said the road struggles hasn’t created any doubt among the players.

“I feel like every road game, with maybe the exception of one, was easily winnable,” LeDee said. “We wish we had those back right now, but all we can do is be in the present and take care of business today.”

The Aztecs will be happy to return home, where they’re 13-0 this season. They last played at Viejas Arena on Feb. 16, an 81-70 win against New Mexico that avenged an 88-70 loss to the Lobos earlier this season in Albuquerque.

Now the goal is to play better against the Spartans the second time around as well.

“San Jose State will be a challenge,” Dutcher said. “If we play up to our standard, we’ll have a chance to win. If we just say, ‘It’s San Jose, we’re going to win,’ that won’t happen.”

The Spartans are coming off a rough week, losing 82-50 at Boise State and 84-63 against visiting Nevada.

Freshman guard Latrell Davis was a bright spot in the loss to Nevada, totaling 17 points and six rebounds off the bench.

“(My mindset) is play hard because that’s what’s going to keep me in the game,” Davis said. “We got a lot of scorers on our team, so I’ve got to find a way to do something else to be able to help contribute on the court.”

–Field Level Media

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