San Diego State is the first team in Mountain West history to enter conference play unbeaten. To keep that unblemished record, coach Steve Fisher says the Aztecs need to keep striving to play better.
Sixth-ranked San Diego State will try to do just that Wednesday night against TCU in the first of back-to-back road games to open its conference season.
Already off to the best start in school history and riding their longest win streak ever, the Aztecs (15-0) recorded their most lopsided victory of the season Friday with a 93-50 rout of Division III Occidental.
With 10 players receiving at least 13 minutes of playing time, San Diego State shot a season-high 61.0 percent and posted a 42-13 rebounding margin. Fisher, however, was already focusing on his team’s upcoming games.
“If we had played 15 straight league games, we would not be 15-0. If we are going to go undefeated in the league, we are going to have to play better,” he said. “We have to guard hard and smart. We have to rebound the ball better, especially at the defensive end. We cannot turn the ball over.”
The Aztecs have won eight times away from home this season but split their eight Mountain West road games in 2009-10 while finishing tied for third.
San Diego State claimed one of those four road wins over the Horned Frogs, 68-51 on Feb. 16 as Kawhi Leonard had 18 points and Billy White scored 17. The Aztecs are opening with consecutive road games in conference play for the first time since 2004-05, concluding the stretch against Utah on Saturday.
“We’re ready to get started,” Fisher said. “This league is very, very good, as is every league. We are anxiously waiting to see how we will perform on our first road trip.”
White, who averaged a team-best 16.5 points in two wins over TCU last season, missed Friday’s game with a sprained right ankle but is expected to return Wednesday.
“We’ve been talking a lot about TCU. They’re a very good team. They have some big wins. This isn’t going to be an easy game,” guard D.J. Gay said. “It’s a very good team that is very capable of doing well in this league.”
The status of TCU leading scorer Ronnie Moss, averaging 15.3 points, is unknown because of a concussion suffered in a 69-66 defeat at Tulsa on Thursday night. Without Moss, the Horned Frogs (9-6) also lost 70-61 at Rice on Sunday.
Junior guard Hank Thorns had a career-high 18 points and eight assists but couldn’t help his team rally after falling behind in the second half.
TCU is 7-1 at home this season but was 3-5 there last season in conference play en route to a seventh-place finish.
The Horned Frogs have lost four straight and nine of 10 matchups to San Diego State since joining the Mountain West before the 2005-06 season.
The Aztecs, who lead the series 9-4, suffered the lone loss in Fort Worth on Feb. 9, 2008, and claimed a two-point overtime victory there the next season.