Nevada hoping to end losing streak to San Diego State

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Nevada has had its way with most of the Mountain West teams over the past two seasons.

But one school -- San Diego State -- keeps getting in the way.

The Aztecs will attempt to defeat the No. 17 Wolf Pack (27-3, 14-3 MW) for the fourth-straight time as well as spoil Nevada's regular-season title aspirations when the teams play Saturday night in Reno, Nev.

San Diego State (19-11, 11-6) defeated the Wolf Pack 65-57 on Feb. 20 in San Diego with the output representing Nevada's lowest of the season.

The Aztecs also won last season's final two meetings, including a full-on annihilation of the Wolf Pack in the Mountain West tournament semifinals when they led by 30 points at halftime en route to a 90-73 triumph.

Nevada senior guard Caleb Martin, who averages a team-best 19.4 points, is tired of the trend where his team is outplayed by San Diego State.

"Sometimes you can tell they are one of those teams that it depends on who they play on whether they want to turn it on or not," Martin said of the Aztecs during a press conference on Thursday. "Seems like it has been the case the last couple years for them when it comes to us.

"I don't know if they just like playing against us or they eat some special food before the game or the night before. I don't really know. I think they do a good job of scouting us and trying to switch things up and throwing curveballs at us. I'm tired of the curveballs."

The Wolf Pack, who are 14-0 at home, also need a victory if they want to share the Mountain West regular-season title with Utah State. The Aggies (15-3 MW) don't play Saturday and have already clinched at least a share of the crown.

Nevada senior power forward Jordan Caroline said the motivation is high for a victory on Saturday and will remain that way the rest of the season.

"We're just trying to finish the season strong," Caroline said at the press conference. "We're more locked in now knowing that from now on that every game we play is for a championship."

Caroline averages 17.7 points and a team-leading 9.6 rebounds but he scored just eight points in the recent loss to San Diego State.

The Aztecs have won nine of their past 12 games but will be trying to bounce back from a brutal 76-74 home loss to Fresno State on Wednesday.

San Diego State led 71-63 with under three minutes to play and later committed turnovers on three straight possessions inside the final minute to help the Bulldogs take the lead en route to a stunning victory.

"I wish we closed that game better but we can't take it back," senior guard Jeremy Hemsley said in a press conference after the setback. "My focus now is the Nevada game. I'm not going to obsess over the loss. It's over with."

Aztecs coach Brian Dutcher is confident his club will bounce back from a defeat that ended a 14-game home conference winning streak.

"I like my team and I like how we're playing, but we'll bow our backs and get ready to go play in Reno," Dutcher said in the postgame press conference. "They need to win to get a piece of first in the conference and we know what kind of environment we're going into, but it'll be another test for us to get us ready for the Mountain West tournament."

Sophomore power forward Jalen McDaniels leads San Diego State in scoring (16.4) and rebounding (8.2). Senior guard Devin Watson averages 15.7 points and a team-high 4.3 assists.

--Field Level Media