#25/23 San Diego State vs. Missouri State
Time: 11:00 a.m. PST
Location: JQH Arena in Springfield, MO
Missouri State (1-0)
Head Coach: Paul Lusk
MSU Record: 17-16 / 2nd season
Projected Starting Lineup
*G – Anthony Downing (Sr.) 6'1, 190
Downing is the top returning to an unexperienced team. Last season he scored 11.5 points in a little over 30 minutes per game. The senior attacks the bucket, looking for contact but does struggle with outside shot that he settles too much for.
G – Dorrian Williams (RS Fr.) 6'2, 190
*F – Nathan Scheer (Jr.) 6'5, 205
F – Drew Wilson (RS Fr.) 6'7, 217
The redshirt freshman had a positive start to his career by connecting on all six shot attempts in the regular season opener against Philander Smith. He finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.
*F – Christian Kirk (So.) 6'7, 225
"We need him to rebound better," Lusk said of Kirk. "Dunking is the one thing he can do but you're not always going to get dunks. We need him to score around the basket and I thought a couple times he had the opportunity to score around the basket and he got stuck. He continues to work on that. He's still a work in progress."
AztecReport.com was able to watch Missouri State's only game of the season (vs. Philander Smith) as Marcus Marshall was impressive as he attacked the rim at will looking for contact. It showed up on the stat sheet by getting to the line 10 times for total of 16 points off the bench. Freshman Gavin Thurman is a skilled offensive four man that was a perfect match for the zone of Philander Smith. He was able to do numerous things in his 21 minutes of play, scoring a game-high 19 points. Other key contributor off the bench is 6-foot-5 freshman Michael Simpson.
San Diego State (1-1)
Head Coach: Steve Fisher
SDSU Record: 259-161 / 14th season
Projected Starting Lineup
*G – Xavier Thames (Jr.) 6'3, 190
*G – Chase Tapley (Sr.) 6'3, 195
The senior leader is averaging 13.5 points, 5 rebounds and 3.25 assists in four games this season. He's been the most consistent option for the Aztecs.
*F – Jamaal Franklin (Jr.) 6'5, 205
"Jamal internalizes so much that when things don't go well he just obsesses over it," Fisher said after the last game vs. SDCC. "We have talked long and hard about that. When things go wrong you can't do anything other than think ‘what can I gain from the experience that I had.' Jamaal is so much better now from the neck up. He has gotten a lot better in every facet of his game."
F – J.J. O'Brien (So.) 6'7, 225.
F – Deshawn Stephens (Sr.) 6'8, 225
The bench will be even shorter now with Winston Shepard and Matt Shrigley not available. Shepard will be suspended for the second straight game for a violation of NCAA preferential treatment legislation. Shrigley decided to redshirt before the regular started. It will be left to James Rahon, Skylar Spencer and Dwayne Polee. Thought the suspension of Shepard could give LaBradford Franklin an opportunity but he didn't see his first action against San Diego Christian until the last 8 minutes of the blowout ball game.
(* Returning Starter)
Keys to the Game
1) Get up quick. Missouri State is a very young team with an underrated Midwest crowd in the Missouri Valley Conference. How do you take the confidence from the players and crowd out of the game? Go for the knockout blow early.
2) Attack the basket. SDSU has struggled from the outside in both games so far as they are shooting 5-of-37 (13.5%) from downtown and 39% overall in the two games this season. Get to the cup!
3) Use your advantages. The Aztecs are extremely more experienced, athletic, longer and skilled so be smart aggressive. More possessions in this game, the better.
What to Watch
San Diego State
"They have a young team," Fisher said of MSU. "In what little I've read from publications, I think they're the fourth or fifth youngest team in the country. They have two redshirt freshmen that are very good. So you can't really count them as freshman. I think that adds a little bit to the deceitfulness of it."
"One thing I do think we have to do with them is keep them off the glass," Lusk said of SDSU. "They had 20 offensive rebounds against Syracuse. That's impressive in it self. They have good guard play and obviously the Franklin kid is a terrific player and athlete. But there whole deal sometimes is getting on that offensive glass. We are going to have to be very aware of that at terms of putting our bodies on their bodies to keep them off the glass."
"They have four returning starters from that NCAA tournament team. They have a lot of length, athleticism, and a lot of experience. We will have our plate full. It's an opportunity for us. It will be interesting to see how our guys respond but I think they have the right mindset. They know it's a great challenge. That's what you want."
-Missouri State head coach Paul Lusk on San Diego State
While the Aztecs are depleted with the loss of Shepard, it shouldn't be too big of a concern for the more athletic, long, talented and experienced ball club. Missouri State isn't scared of playing a track meet type game and if it turns into that then they are in for a world of hurt. I think SDSU is able to get a positive balance of attacking the rim and finding uncontested jump shots. Blowout win on the road.
San Diego State 85 Missouri State 60
Game Day Breakdown: SDSU at Missouri State
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