No. 24 San Diego State wraps up a three-game homestand against Troy on Monday night, and the Aztecs are flexing their defensive muscle with conference play approaching.
Troy (6-3) makes its second ever trip to Fisher Arena, and has a share of the venue record with 19 3-pointers made in the Trojans’ last visit in 2003. San Diego State (6-2) just tied that mark Friday night in a 95-57 win over Division III Occidental College.
The going gets tougher Monday night for San Diego State and guard Adam Seiko, who shot 6-of-9 from 3-point range off the bench en route to a game-high 20 points on Friday.
While collecting big checks from bigger programs to take their show on the road to start the season, Troy won at Florida State and Montana and gave then-No. 11 Arkansas a 40-minute fight last week. The Trojans led the Razorbacks at the under-8 timeout in the second half.
“I think it’s going to be good at the end of the year for strength of schedule,” said coach Brian Dutcher in a Union-Tribune interview. “But holy smokes. All these ‘buy’ games are brutal. It’s going to toughen us, no question. Sometimes you’d like an easier game or two occasionally. But we didn’t schedule that way. Not intentionally. We didn’t know how good some of these teams would be.”
San Diego State is paying to bring Troy to Fisher Arena on Monday night on the heels of a loss to SIU-Edwardsville, but Dutcher has warned players that a national ranking and reputation will all but guarantee a different team shows up to play the Aztecs.
“We see the best version of whatever that team is going to be,” Dutcher said.
San Diego State also lost to Arkansas — at the Maui Classic last month.
The Trojans have lost two in a row, but coach Scott Cross is using the build-up to the West Coast trip to remind Troy of the positives evident in those games.
“To be able to go toe-to-toe with (Arkansas) for the majority of the game, I think bodes well for the future, especially since we were short-handed,” Cross said.
Troy is again a threat to put up big points shooting from deep. The Trojans hit eight early 3-pointers at Arkansas but then missed seven of their final eight attempts to blow a lead with 6:25 remaining, when Arkansas outscored Troy 19-3. The Razorbacks won the points in the paint battle 46-26.
Darrion Trammell leads SDSU in scoring with 13.1 points per game. Both teams are dealing with illness, which could bring depth — advantage, Aztecs — into the equation.
–Field Level Media