Our favorite men’s college basketball team played a match against fellow Mountain West title-hopefuls Boise State tonight. As a 29-year-old unmarried white male, I will express my feelings on the subject the only way I know how: Simpsons references.
San Diego State allowed just one Boise State player to score through the first nine minutes of the game. That’s good! Normally.
His name is Chandler Hutchison and he outscored the entire Aztecs squad by seven during that opening stretch. That’s bad.
SDSU was down by double digits midway through the first half thanks to some good old-fashioned patented Aztecs-can’t-make-a-gotdang-shot-to-save-their-lives combined with some bizarre lucky-ass baskets by the Broncos. But the Tecs gutted out a few runs to make it a tie game early in the second half. That’s good!
For the second time in five MW games, SDSU allowed an opposing player to drop 35-plus on them as Hutchison finished with 44. That’s bad. At least this guy is a probable NBA draft pick and not a sentient pile of mayonnaise. It’s still bad.
SDSU played like a bunch of tough-minded, grind-it-out motherfuckers who were not intimidated by a reportedly lit crowd in Boise (the first sellout in three years) and snagged a three point lead with about eight minutes to go, their first since the opening moments of the game. That’s good!
The worst player on the court for San Diego State was senior leader Trey Kell, who shot 2-14 and played some forgettable defense. That’s bad.
The Aztecs fought hard and honestly played pretty well in one of their most difficult MW road games of the year and lost, 83-80. With at-large hopes already slim entering Saturday night, there is no place for moral victories in 2018. So yeah, it’s bad.
Our noble squadron falls to 11-5 on the year, 3-2 in conference play. That isn’t good.
We can blame Trey Kell. We can blame the 11 points Boise scored on four freak, lucky, banked-three, fluke baskets. We can blame the greatest curse of all: the curse of being born into this stupid, stupid world. Take your pick.
Chan Uno Cinco is obviously a serious baller, a 21-year-old unpaid NBA prospect. And when playing on the road, you have expect a few unlucky bounces.
But a team with this much defensive talent has no business giving up 44 points to any individual Mountain West player. It’s disappointing the coaching staff couldn’t figure out how to slow down the Hutchison kid. I don’t know of any SDSU fans who believe Dutcher is anywhere near a hot seat (I certainly don’t) but tonight was a reminder that he is, in fact, a first-year head coach.
Malik Pope did all he could, shooting 8-11 for 18 points, nine boards and a bunch of dunks. Devin Watson was the game’s second-leading scorer with 19. Wonderkin Jalen McDaniels continued to build on his recent production with 16 points. Jeremy Hemsley was an essential no-show with zero points, one rebound and one personal foul in 12 minutes.
So where do we go from here? Even with the loss, the Aztecs are still in third place in the MW standings behind 5-0 Nevada (with whom they have two games yet to play) and 5-1 Boise (who comes to San Diego for a rematch in late February). San Diego State will be favored in their next three games (FSU, at UNM, CSU). If the Aztecs can win those three and follow that up by beating UNLV for the 12th straight time, they’ll remain in the thick of the conference title race.
Not a good enough pep talk? Well, remember when UNLV hired Chris Beard and he quit like 10 minutes later to take the Texas Tech job? Tonight his No. 8 Red Raiders stormed the court tonight after defeating No. 2 WVU. Meanwhile the Runnin’ Rebs are 2-2 in the Mountain West. My second favorite thing behind SDSU Joy is UNLV Sadness, so it’s a consolation I’ll acknowledge.
On to the next. Beat Fresno.