In a city where if you mention basketball, the most you'll get out of someone is, "Oh yeah, didn't the Clippers used to play here?", a team right down the road from Qualcomm Stadium happens to be on the national stage for more reasons than one.
The San Diego State Aztecs have now improved to 18-0 on the season with a 55-49 win last night against the UNLV Running Rebels. The win marks an Aztecs school record, and they now hold the best win-loss record in the NCAA after Duke's loss last night, standing at No. 6 in the nation in the Associated Press poll.
Of course, no team who has had success like the Aztecs this season gets to 18-0 without a defined leader. That man for SDSU is head coach Steve Fisher, who's in his 12th season with the team. Last night against UNLV marked a milestone for Fisher, who chalked up his 400th career win in NCAA basketball. Fisher realizes what he's up against, and his "nothing comes easy" approach has humbled his young group of star-studded talent as they continue on the road of perfection.
One of the known talents for Fisher is sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard, who had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the win Wednesday night at a sold-out Cox Arena in San Diego. It marks his 11th double-double of the season and 28th of his career. He leads the team with 15.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
However, seniors Malcolm Thomas, D.J. Gay, and Billy White—the second, third and fourth-leading scorers—anchor this undefeated ship. They've been invited to the Big Dance a couple times in their career, but this time around, they plan on staying for a little more than just the pre-party. Handling themselves with that senior swag, Gay runs the point, and White and Thomas, who play down low, have been the formula that keeps the chemistry going all year.
The Aztecs will now face the 13-4 New Mexico Lobos on the road. Now that the Aztecs have the best record in the NCAA, we'll see how they hold up as the pressure builds.