Feb 172005
Authors: Scott Bondy

The men's basketball team will be looking to end an eight-game losing streak Saturday night at Moby Arena.

The Rams host the San Diego State Aztecs and hope to record their second conference win. The Rams will need the win to help their chances going into the Mountain West Conference Tournament, as there are only four games remaining in the regular season.

"It's definitely important to get that momentum, "said freshman center Jason Smith.

Senior center Matt Nelson agreed.

"(A win) would definitely be a confidence booster going into the tournament."

The Aztecs come into this game with a record of 10-12 and 4-5 in the MWC. SDSU is rebounding from a 93-91 overtime loss Saturday to UNLV, a game in which the Rebels scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds to send the game into overtime.

The Aztecs are lead by guard Brandon Heath, who leads the team with 17.9 points per game. In the loss to UNLV, Heath had 29 points, which included 17-of-17 shooting from the free-throw line. Close behind him is forward Marcus Slaughter, who averages 17.8 points per game.

If history is any indicator of what might happen in this game, the Rams certainly have the advantage, as 20 of the last 21 games played between the two teams at Moby have been won by the Rams.

The Rams lost a tough one on the road last week at Brigham Young by a score of 50-49. They continue to sit in last place in the conference with a 1-9 record and an overall mark of 9-14.

However, the team is optimistic about ending the losing streak.

"They know what we're going to do and we know what they're going to do," Nelson said.

Nelson recorded his third double-double of the year against BYU with 10 points and 12 rebounds. He continues to lead Rams with 15 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Smith, who returned from an injury against BYU only to see limited time, could play a factor this weekend. Smith leads all MWC freshmen in scoring with 9.6 points per game, and he also grabs 5.3 rebounds per game. In the previous game versus SDSU, he scored 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

The Rams are averaging 16.3 turnovers per game and will need to limit that considering the Aztecs have the conference's second-best turnover margin.

"We need to limit our turnovers. San Diego State is definitely a transition team and they definitely hurt us (last time), "Smith said.

Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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