A little after noon Pacific time, I was in a pretty dark place. Well, I was at work, so that goes without saying. But more so than usual even!
In my head, I was already crafting a depressing game recap about how the Aztecs were on the verge of being cast into the sea at the Maui Invitational. How the hunt for a quality nonconference win was looking grim. How one day after getting their doors blown off by No. 1 Duke, the Aztecs responded by getting their doors blown off by a team that was very decidedly not Duke.
Don’t get me wrong, Xavier is a solid Big East foe, but when you’re getting run by 19 in the first half against the Musketeers, many people would consider that time to panic.
Instead, Jalen McDaniels decided it was time to grab himself some plate lunch and fuckin’ eat.
McDaniels scored a career-high 26 points as the Aztecs roared to within three at halftime and then dominated the game’s final 15 minutes for a 79-74 win — a thrilling national TV showcase for both an NBA prospect and a team looking to build an at-large resume.
What a comeback for San Diego State. Jalen McDaniels carries the Aztecs to a come from behind win over Xavier in Maui. Musketeers are now 2-3 overall.
Look man, what do you want from me here? Would you like me to break down the deficiencies, misplays and tactical errors that led to the Aztecs’ 90-64 loss to No. 1 Duke in the opening round of the Maui Invitational? Why?
That would be a little like picking apart the structural deficiencies of a really nice sports car that just got demolished by a BNSF freight train. If you don’t want your ride to get wrecked, keep it off the damn tracks. But with the Aztecs in harm’s way amid the deepest Maui field ever, here we are.
Duke, as they say, is Duke —but this year’s freshman-laden squad is extremely Duke, save for two big differences:
They amazingly don’t have anyone on the roster who stands out as extremely punchable.
They somehow possess more raw talent and offensive firepower than we’re used to seeing. From Duke.
Barring injury or major upset, the Blue Devils are probably going to cruise to the National Championship in March. Coach K’s guys started their season by pummeling Kentucky by 34 points. Let it be known, for the record, that the Duke Blue Devils did not beat the Aztecs by that many points (SUCK IT, KENTUCKY), nor did they win wire-to-wire.
Tonight marked my first look at the 2018-19 San Diego State men’s basketball Aztecs and … well … before I get to gushing over this 103-64 thrashing of Texas Southern, I feel like I should temper things a bit.
The last time the Aztecs kept it one hunnit, as the kids say, I was inspired to write this bit of sanguine nonsense that looks pretty dumb now. That 2016-17 team ended up being one of the most disappointing SDSU squads in a decade. So beware the siren song of the small sample size is what I’m saying.
Kabeer Thirty did not staff tonight’s men’s basketball opener out of deference to DEMOCRACY (I.E.: getting drunk while watching election returns.) But let the record show that the Aztecs started their 2018-19 campaign by besting Arkansas-Pine Bluff 76-60.
Devin Watson scored 20. Jalen McDaniels had 15 points, 9 boards and 5 assists in just 27 minutes.
Charles Grodin High School principal and San Diego State head men’s basketball coach Brian Dutcher announced to his students today that he has agreed to a contract extension to lead the Aztecs through the 2022-23 season.
After the conclusion of the laser show portion of today’s annual “Taking Care Of Business” back to school assembly (named for the 1990 Charles Grodin/Jim Belushi film), Principal Dutcher took the stage and made the announcement.
After taking us all on a month-long emotional roller coaster ride in which every invite to a team workout and every Twitter avatar change became a reason for panic, Jalen McDaniels is coming back for his sophomore season at San Diego State.
In an extremely SDSU student move, McDaniels waited until the last moment to complete his assignment, announcing his withdrawal from the NBA Draft with barely an hour to go before the deadline. Been there, man.
Remember Malachi Flynn? You probably used to know him as that evil jerkface who ruined your Sunday night a few months back. Last November, Flynn tormented San Diego State by absolutely balling out in the final of the Wooden Legacy Tournament, scoring 24 points to secure a Washington State win and the tournament MVP. Classic evil jerkface move tbh.
So, uh, it seems we may need to reconsider any snap opinions we formed that night. Today, Malachi Flynn is a gentleman, a scholar and an Aztec.
Following in the transfer footsteps of Xavier Thames, the sharpshooting guard committed to SDSU where he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining. With Devin Watson and Jeremy Hemsley both seniors, 2019-20 will almost certainly be the Malachi Flynn show on Montezuma Mesa.