What follows is a list of things that went poorly in San Diego State’s 60-57 loss at Air Force on Tuesday night:
- Malik Pope broke again and may be out for a spell.
- SDSU blew a 14-point lead and lost a game it trailed for, like, two minutes.
- The team the Aztecs lost to is real bad, even when adjusting for Mountain West.
- The Aztecs keep shooting 3s like that is a thing they can do (note: they cannot).
- SDSU fell to 0-5 in close games this season, which … man.
- Jeremy Hemsley and Trey Kell and Zylan Cheatham, generally.
Now, in the interest of providing alternative facts, here are some things that went well tonight:
- The defense was mostly OK or whatever.
- The yokels on the ESPN3 stream are no longer emanating from my computer speakers.
- You’re probably well past the point of taking these losses hard anyway, so fuck it.
I’ll start (if I must) with the meat in this gourmet shit sandwich: Malik Pope’s scary injury. In just his third game back from knee troubles, Pope went to the floor after a loose ball in between two Falcons. The result was …
less than optimal. Pope was writhing on the floor for what seemed like an eternity before being fitted with a neck brace and walking off gingerly with a reported neck strain.
At that point, SDSU led 42-36 so it’s tempting to say Pope’s injury turned the tide, and I’m sure it was quite deflating for everyone involved. But good god, people. The opponent was a lousy team of cadets playing in a tiny arena that appeared to be 10 percent full, max. Dig deep, maybe?
Unfortunately, rising to the occasion does not seem to be this squad’s forte.
Jacking up 3s on the other hand!
Do you ever look directly at a light bulb and then close your eyes to still see its ghostly imprint? Right now, when I close my eyes, I can vividly see the imprint of an Aztec player bricking a 3 with 15 left on the shot clock. If it’s still there tomorrow I should probably see a doctor or something.
Funny thing: SDSU actually started the game hot from beyond the arc, racing out to a 32-19 lead, beating the Air Force zone on the strength of 7-of-13 shooting from downtown. You’ll never guess what happened next.
Wait, scratch that. You’ll totally guess.
YOU GUESSED RIGHT!!
SDSU hit just one (ONE!) of its last 16 long-range attempts. Fittingly, the Aztecs’ final three possessions with the chance to tie went like this:
- Kell misses open 3
- Kell misses wild 3
- Hemsley airballs long 3
Oof. What to say about the game Hemsley had …
Thing is, it was probably the right call. Hemsley continued his funk in a big way tonight, finishing 1-of-7 on threes and 3-of-12 overall from the floor. In five games since scoring 30 against Nevada, he’s shooting 27 percent on FGs.
Kell, after an encouragingly commanding performance against UNLV, reverted back to the guy who’d been scuffling badly in MWC play. Meanwhile, no one could get the ball to Cheatham (4 points) inside against the zone, though I don’t actually recall much of an effort being made to do so. All I recall at this point are neck braces and clanked 3s and shattered dreams*.
I’m now going to drink a pint glass of boxed wine and go to bed**.
*This will be the title of my forthcoming country album.
**This will be title of the first single.