It all came down to one final shot — an off-balance prayer that had the entire city of San Diego on the edge of its collective seat. The attempt was true, rattling home and sending the raucous crowd at Viejas Arena into hysterics.
Red Panda had done it.
Five bowls, flipped onto her head from atop a god damn unicycle.
Savor the moment, SDSU men’s basketball fans. Because Red Panda’s halftime show Saturday was the closest thing to national relevance that we’ll get to experience for the rest of the regular season.
The Aztecs suffered a last-second 63-62 home loss to a brutally bad Cal team, essentially changing the font on their NCAA tournament resume to Comic Sans.
Like the legendary acrobat’s halftime routine, SDSU also had one final shot with everything on the line. Only the Aztecs, when faced with a moment of truth, did the equivalent of kicking five bowls into the crowd and pelting kids from the local boys and girls club.
If you care to relive it, it went down like this:
So many bad things going on there. Not calling timeout to set up a play. Devin Watson hastily dribbling into traffic. A pass to a double-covered Jeremy Hemsley for an off-balance three at the buzzer that had, what, a 15 percent chance of going in? If that?
Surprised that didn’t work out tbh.
Same, Coach. Same.
In past years, losing to the Bears — even in such a galling fashion — wouldn’t have stung so badly or seemed so apocalyptic. This year, it sure does. Cal has lost to UC Riverside, Division II Chaminade (by 24!) and Central Arkansas (by 25!).
Cal is very, very bad. SDSU just lost to a very, very bad team. At home.
Let’s check Aztecs Twitter, shall we?
Thanks to an inability to solve Cal’s zone (surprisingly, “miss a 3” was not the solution) and garbage defense and rebounding, SDSU trailed 39-34 at the half, then went down by 14 before Red Panda could even pack up her unicycle.
SDSU fought back valiantly and even held a 4-point lead when Hemsley hit his second free throw with 50 seconds to play. Don Coleman (19 points and a totally not-malicious kick attempt at Malik Pope) then hit a layup, was fouled by Matt Mitchell and drained the free throw. On the ensuing possession, Mitchell turned the ball over in traffic, leading to a Watson foul on the other end and the series of unfortunate events embedded above.
Pope scored a game-high 20 points and Hemsley helped key the almost-stirring comeback with 13 points off the bench. Watson, on the other hand, struggled mightily, posting only 2 points, 1 assist and 3 turnovers while missing all six of his 3-point attempts.
Oh, also Trey Kell returned from his ankle injury only to play only 18 minutes because of a shiny new quad injury.
Yep, things are going great.
The Aztecs will host No. 12 Gonzaga on Dec. 21. That game seemed a lot more meaningful, like, four hours ago. Now it’s basically a chance for SDSU to improve its NIT chances with an upset win. Who knows, maybe SDSU can book Red Panda for the NIT First Round!
There’s still plenty to play for, everybody. All is well!
All is well.