Something is going to give when the unstoppable force known as San Diego State (21-0, 10-0) meets the immovable object of The Pit. Without a doubt, the Lobos (16-6, 5-4) have been at their best at home this season. Going back to last season, the Lobos have won 15 consecutive games at home, but that momentum may not be enough to pull off the unexpected.
With the status of JaQuan Lyle and Vance Jackson unknown ahead of the game, the Lobos will need more than a little Pit magic on Wednesday night. Both players have missed games over the past two weeks due to injury, leaving Corey Manigault and Zane Martin to lead the way.
While Manigault and Martin were capable of leading the team against San Jose State and Nevada, the Aztecs are a completely different challenge. Coming in at No. 4 in the nation, the Aztecs are one of the top defenses, allowing only 57.2 points per game. That doesn’t bode well for a Lobo offense that has sputtered at times recently.
It hasn’t helped that the Lobos have been significantly outrebounded in each of their last three losses and surrendered 44 baskets from three-point range. Suspensions, injuries, and poor defensive play have all contributed to the team’s struggles.
Many believed that the last home game against San Jose was the best performance of the year. It will take that, and more, to upend the undefeated Aztecs.
Malachi Flynn will prove to be the biggest threat for the Aztecs on Wednesday night. The team’s leading scorer, Flynn is averaging 16.8 points per game while shooting 39.7% from three-point range. The Lobos will need to find a way to contest the Aztecs’ shots and not allow them to have open looks.
Even with the odds seemingly stacked against them, the Lobos’ ability to control the pace is possibly their biggest weapon while shorthanded. By taking away possessions, and avoiding turnovers, from the Aztecs, the Lobos will be able to stay within striking distance.
Wednesday night’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (Mountain) tip-off. For those not in attendance, the game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.