Happy New Year! On the second day of this Gregorian calendar year 2018, the San Diego State men’s basketball Aztecs beat the Colorado State Rams 77-68 in Fort Collins, Colorado, town of backward-ass bumpkins, elevation 4,982 feet.
I caught glimpses and overheard fleeting commentary of this one while making a salad, a cocktail, a phone call and sitting for dinner with a friend. 2018 is a Tomorrowland year in roboto font, everything is digitized and dystopic, the future careens unstoppable toward us all. Save yourselves! Become a vegan. Put all your money in cryptocurrencies. Build your bunker now. In the meantime, here’s some things about a basketball game:
This guy did not win and did not upsell you on an extended warranty.
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy comes off as an irascible so-and-so in his best moments. Tonight he was wearing a black ensemble that fell somewhere on the spectrum between brewhouse waiter and tire store manager. In this screencapped moment he had been staring with mouth agape at some ref, player, spot on the floor or the yawning void of his own mortality for at least five seconds. A loss to Eustachy and his middling Rams might well have marked an early death knell on this Aztecs hoops season.
CSU was 3-0 against San Diego State last season, knocking them out of the conference tournament. The win gives SDSU a 41-40 all-time record over the Rams.
Jalen McDaniels was a man among lesser men, and he can’t legally drink or buy weed until January 31, 2019. Don’t drink or buy weed, Jalen!
This sequence of three straight baskets by McDaniels early in the 2nd half set an important tone for the Aztecs. In the midst of another enigmatic game from Malik Pope, Jalen the lanky redshirt freshman stepped forward and carried his squad.
McDaniels led the Aztecs with 19 points and 10 rebounds, hitting 8 of 11 shots and posting an efficiency rating of 27.0. That’s high; Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only NBA players with a 27+ efficiency rating for their careers.
Jalen is slight, carrying his 195 pounds on a 6’10” frame like a coat rack, but with serious skills and poise. McDaniels won top-level state titles in his last two years of high school in Federal Way, Washington, going 29-0 his senior year. It’s early days and yet McDaniels is already looking like a major piece of the program going forward.
Kam Rooks has fallen off the radar.
McDaniels’ qualities forced his way into the starting lineup, and Rooks to the bottom of the box score. He had one rebound and no shot attempts in six minutes. It’s a bummer to see Rooks struggle in his return home after everything he’s been through. He seems to either not have the skills, or has misplaced them.
Max Montana’s fluctuating surname headed back toward Alaska with a 1 for 4 outing, all on threes.
Devin Watson had a quietly solid game, Trey Kell hit key shots and Jeremy Hemsley had a clutch night off the bench, scoring 13 points on 3 for 3 from distance.
The final score images where the player looks weird are definitely a thing.
San Diego State’s SID staff is trolling its own players, first with this pained Mad Max after the Utah State win:
Then tonight, Aztec M. Basketball tweeted out Surprised Jalen:
Notice that both of these images appear to be from the same game with the throwback jersey (vs UCSD?), clearly a premeditated campaign. When March rolls around the final score twitter cards will just be this:
Home next Tuesday, January 9 vs. San Jose State, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. SJSU is bad.
The Aztecs stand at 2-1 in conference, 10-4 overall, in 4th place behind Boise State, Nevada and Wyoming.