The San Diego State men’s basketball team held a three-point lead heading into halftime on Wednesday night in Wyoming. Not great, but what we’d seen early on looked pretty encouraging. The Aztecs had survived a barrage of early 3s and were dominating the glass. If things kept going like they were going, it was easy to see how this could turn into a blowout in the second half.
And … well … it did turn into a blowout. I was technically not wrong, folks!
SDSU followed its epic Gonzaga win and opened Mountain West Conference play by slipping on fresh road apple and falling face-first into a cow patty. Or as they call it in Laramie, Wyo., “enjoying the local nightlife.”
SDSU lost 82-69 to the Cowboys, thanks to some insanely-hot shooting by the new top-vote getter on our Most Despised Player list (more on him later). Another culprit was the 7,200-foot elevation that made the Aztecs look like they were playing defense and rebounding while wearing a diving bell at the bottom of the sea.
Say, see if you can spot where things started to go wrong. Look closely now, it’s subtle.
Give up? Well, with 16:49 to play in the second half, two Devin Watson free throws gave the Aztecs a 4-point advantage. Some 12 minutes later a Hayden Dalton dunk put the Cowboys up by 19. It was an unrelenting 34-11 run that saw Wyoming getting wide open layups in between draining 3s from behind hay bales and while riding sidesaddle on a palomino (cowboy terms).
It was ugly and disheartening and stupid. And more than a little familiar!
Wyoming finished the game hitting a preposterous 12-of-29 3s. Which brings us is to …
This fucking guy. Dalton, a 6-foot-8 senior who was a 5-star recruit into the Night King’s army of the dead, drained 5 of those 3s and a bunch of other field goals and free throws, too. He finished with 36 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists, an incredible night for the young man and bully for him.
But you know what? When you clap in Max Montana’s face after draining a 3, and engage in similar jackass-esque antics the rest of the night, you’re going to make some people not like you. Those same people who are going to see you again at Viejas Arena in February, and perhaps again in Las Vegas in March.
Furthermore, and I can’t stress this enough, Hayden Dalton has a stupid face and is bad.
Aztec performances of note
- Malik Pope played well, particularly in the first half (well, obviously), scoring 21 points and pulling down 9 boards.
- Jalen McDaniels got his first career start at the 5, which was interesting and probably a thing we’ll see a lot more of.
- Jeremy Hemsley didn’t play, probably because Wyoming considers restaurant health codes big government tyranny.
- Brian Dutcher sat calmly in his chair during the second half, giving off the vibe of a dad who is not mad that he caught you drinking, just disappointed.
My bad, everybody
Honestly, this is all pretty much my fault. Earlier in the afternoon, I found myself thinking about the possible scenarios and permutations for conference play that might make an at-large bid possible. Could 14-4 put the Aztecs on the bubble, or do they need to go 15-3, I wondered?
I’ll stop now. I’ve learned my lesson, I swear.
The at-large dream is dead. Vegas or bust.