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SDSU Basketball Preview: Aztecs to Face Surging Anteaters

It’s an important early-season non-conference showdown as San Diego State welcomes a surging UC Irvine to Viejas Arena on Tuesday, November 29 at 7 p.m. Catch all the action exclusively on Yurview with Jon Schaeffer on the call. The game will be carried by YurView California on (Cox Channel 4/1004) and Spectrum (Channel 4) in San Diego.

Viewers can also watch a free live stream of the game.

Nathan Mensah: San Diego State Aztecs of the Mountain West Conference Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The Aztecs will wear turquoise uniforms for their annual N7 game on Tuesday, a collaboration with Nike to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. According to a press release, “they are a display of solidarity between the university and the Native American communities in San Diego County and a nod to the power of sports as an agent of change”. The game-worn specialty jerseys will be auctioned off following the game.

San Diego State is coming off a fourth-place finish in the prestigious Maui Jim Maui Invitational after suffering a heartbreaking 78-74 overtime setback to #9 Arkansas last Wednesday. The Aztecs saw a four-point lead evaporate in the final 13 seconds of regulation before falling in the extra session. Matt Bradley paced the Aztecs with a season-high 23 points but missed a potential game-tying lay-up in the waning seconds of overtime.

Ricky Council IV of Arkansas shoots over Lamont Butler of San Diego State in the first half Wednesday night. (Darryl Oumi / Getty Images)

“That was a heck of a basketball game. Two teams on tired legs finding a way to gut it out,” exclaimed Aztecs head coach Brian Dutcher. “Overtime in the final game. It was exciting. I mean, it went right to the end. Obviously, we wish we would have closed better. We didn’t. It ended up going to overtime, and we still had opportunities in overtime.”

Overall, the Aztecs went 1-2 in Maui with a hard-fought win over a top-25 caliber Ohio State team before dropping a semifinal game to Arizona, 87-70. Overall, San Diego State is 4-2 with wins over Cal State Fullerton, BYU, Stanford as well as the Buckeyes. The Aztecs will play six of their next seven games at Viejas Arena with the only other contest taking place against St. Mary’s on a neutral floor in Phoenix.

UC Irvine claimed the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Saturday with a dominant 85-68 win over New Mexico State in the championship game to improve to 6-1 overall. Earlier this season, UC Irvine notched a road victory against then #21 Oregon for their first regular season win over a ranked opponent in Russell Turner’s 13-year tenure as Anteaters’ head coach.

Forward 6′ 11″ Senior Deran Keeler battling Chapman. Photo courtesy of UC Irvine Athletics

“Credit the guys in our locker room, they believed they could come in and compete and it is hard to generate that all the time, but we have a winning tradition,” UC Irvine coach Russell Turner said according to the Associated Press. “They had some guys out and it is not easy to play us early in the year, I know that. Give them credit for taking this game, it was a big deal for us to get an opportunity to come in here and play. This was a hell of an opportunity for us to play a team of their quality. We don’t take this for granted.”

In Saturday’s win in Las Vegas over New Mexico State, star guard DJ Davis poured in 25 points while connecting on 5-of-7 three-point attempts. Davis, who was high school teammates with Aztecs’ starting guard Lamont Butler, is shooting 46.8% from beyond the arc in the early season. Overall, UC Irvine hit 14-of-24 attempts from beyond the arc in the impressive win.

UC Irvine went 15-10 last season for its ninth consecutive winning season under Russell Turner. The Anteaters were picked to finish in fourth place in the Big West preseason poll.

UC Irvine is 29th in the nation in scoring at 83.3 points per game while allowing just 58.9 points per contest, also the 29th-best total in Division I. As a team, the Anteaters are shooting 42.3% from three-point range, the 8th-best mark in the nation.

Upcoming San Diego State home games against Occidental (Friday, Dec. 2), Troy (Monday, Dec. 5), and Kennesaw State (Monday, Dec. 12) can also be seen exclusively on YurView California.