San Diego St.-San Diego Preview

The Associated Press

San Diego State climbed into the Top 25 after beating a pair of ranked foes over the weekend.

While coach Steve Fisher appreciates the acclaim, he's focused on the next task at hand.

The No. 24 Aztecs go for a fifth consecutive win Thursday night as they make the short trip to San Diego, which has had a rough go in the series of late.

Two days after getting by then-No. 20 Creighton 86-80, San Diego State (5-1) held on for a 67-59 win over then-No. 25 Marquette in the Wooden Legacy championship game Sunday. Senior Xavier Thames led the way with a career-high 27 points while Josh Davis added 11 rebounds.

The Aztecs have now been ranked in four consecutive seasons after failing to enter the Top 25 during their first 40 years in Division I.

"I remember being ranked No. (25) during preseason in 2010, and we did cartwheels," Fisher said. "We made a big deal out of it. It was the first time we had been ranked. Our kids are proud of the fact they're ranked, but ... we know we have a good program. If we win, good things will happen."

San Diego State has won seven straight and 10 of 11 against the Toreros (7-2), cruising to a 72-56 home victory Dec. 15.

"We need to make sure we're focused on San Diego and not thinking about what happened up in Anaheim last weekend," said Fisher, whose team is set to play its first true road game. "(San Diego) is confident right now and they have reason to be. So we're excited about the game, I believe it will be a really, really good atmosphere and we're very much looking forward to the challenge of playing them."

The Toreros are looking to get back on track after falling 73-66 at New Mexico on Saturday. Leading scorer Johnny Dee had 25 points and Duda Sanadze added 18, but San Diego was outrebounded 40-26 while playing its fourth game in six days.

"I am really proud of our team ... they never complain," coach Bill Grier told the school's official website. "I am just proud how we competed today. I told them if you play that hard, and battle that hard, I have no complaints. I think this shows a lot of toughness about our team."

San Diego went 7 of 8 from the free-throw line while the Lobos were 26 of 29.

Dee, averaging 17.6 points, was held to nine and shot 3 of 8 against San Diego State last season.

While the Toreros are 3-0 at home for the first time since 2006-07, they have been outscored by an average of 18.5 points during a nine-game losing streak to ranked opponents.

Slowing down Thames could prove crucial if they hope to snap that skid. The emerging star leads the Aztecs with 17.2 points per game after averaging 9.5 last season.

"XT is playing as good of basketball as anybody in the country right now," Fisher said. "Complete control, not trying too hard and making plays that a fifth-year player makes to be successful."

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