Game Recap: Aztecs advance to semis as vintage defense smothers Fresno State

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The Brian Dutcher era at San Diego State started with talk of surrendering defense to facilitate scoring, and that talk mostly came to fruition. This year we’ve seen a faster tempo on offense, running in transition and jacking 3-pointers with impunity. At times it has been beautiful and thrilling. At others — all of late January and early February, for instance — it has been a galling disaster.

In the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, we saw our Aztecs revert to a more familiar form. The Aztecs didn’t beat Fresno State on Thursday afternoon with transition buckets or long range marksmanship or anything even vaguely aesthetically pleasing. Instead, as Steve Fisher looked on approvingly from the stands, they brought out their pool cues and tire irons to beat Fresno back onto their team bus.

This game — a 64-52 final — was physical, offensively challenged and generally ugly as sin. If this was the first college basketball game I had ever watched, it might have been enough to steer me away from ever watching another one. But it was vintage SDSU.

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Game Recap: KAM ROOKS (and others) beat Nevada on senior night

Rooks
Rooks.

I’ve muttered under my breath about Kameron Rooks at times this season. I’ve yelled at my TV for him to be removed from games. I’ve even poked a little good-natured fun at him on the popular website Twitter dot com. Chances are you have done these things, too.

It’s been a pretty rough year for the graduate transfer from Cal. He’s averaging just two points per game, and with the emergence of Jalen McDaniels and Nolan Narain, he has found himself increasingly garnering the dreaded DNP-coach’s decision.

I’ve always felt a little bad about metaphorically dunking on Rooks, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, he’s unpaid labor who doesn’t owe us shit. For another … well … it’s not like he doesn’t want to be more productive. Being the guy on a popular basketball team who everybody grumbles about has to kind of suck, right?

Rooks is, to use some absolutely loathsome sports-speak, what he is. He’s a 7-foot-1 Pac-12 recruit who looks like he should be better but just … isn’t. And even though it’s not his fault, it makes us angry! We think basketball is supposed to be easy when you’re that crazy tall, and we dismiss what freakish athleticism you need to be agile and nimble at that size.

All of this made Rooks’ glorious game of redemption tonight so damn satisfying.

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Game Recap: Pope returns, Aztecs beat Boise State

The lifting of Malik Pope’s quasi-suspension on Tuesday probably did not change a lot in the grand scheme of things. The San Diego State men’s basketball team is still a long shot to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament (though certainly not as hopeless a long shot as before). It remains out of NCAA at-large contention. It probably isn’t going to make the NIT field, either.

But Brian Dutcher’s decision to reinstate Pope after the conclusion of the program’s internal investigation into the star senior’s borrowing habits did this much: It breathed needed life into Viejas Arena and created a fun, memorable Tuesday night in late February.

And you know, what? I’ll take that.

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Malik Pope reinstated, will play tonight against Boise State

Ecstatic throngs gathered on Campanile Walkway in celebration.

A raucous cheer went up among devout partisans today as a plume of white smoke rose from Hardy tower, signaling that San Diego State’s internal investigation conclave had reached a decision on provisionally-suspended senior forward Malik Pope. Praise the powers that be, for he is risen reinstated!

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Game Recap: Aztecs, minus Malik, beat San Jose State

Winners_Dont_Use_Drugs

San Diego State men’s basketball took a wobbly first step into the post Malone post-Malik era on Saturday night — an era the program has ushered in by choice.

Tonight, up in Eugene, Ore., a player mentioned by his coach on a dang FBI wiretap as the recipient of a hundred grand was cleared to play by the University of Arizona.

Tonight, at Event Center at San José State University, a player whose name appeared next to a $1,400 loan on a sports agency’s balance sheet wasn’t even allowed to make the trip.

What a world.

Yeah. We hear you, Max. We hear you.

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Malik Pope’s name just showed up on a sports agency’s ledger sheet wheeeeeeeeeee!

On Friday morning, Yahoo Sports dropped the latest in its series of explosive reports on the big-time college basketball dumpsterfire. The report showed a ledger sheet from the sports agency ASM, dated Dec. 31, 2015, showing a list of loans made to student athletes and …

Hey I know that name!

Huh. Well would you look at that.

Continue reading “Malik Pope’s name just showed up on a sports agency’s ledger sheet wheeeeeeeeeee!”

Game Recap: Aztecs cruise past Air Force and everything is great

Traveling Blood Jersey is always ready.

Self-help guru Tony Robbins said — in an ad I saw during the Olympics — “Progress is happiness.” That’s really the key to the three-game win streak the San Diego State men’s basketball team is riding. After a sloppy first half the Aztecs tuned in, turned on and dropped a 67-56 defeat on Air Force in Colorado Springs. Dwell in bliss.

SDSU is healthy, playing with energy, defending hard, throwing alley-oop lobs and generally bossing their mediocre conference opponents as the gods intended. From their recent depths of despair it’s real progress, a promising path to happiness. Robbins, Ram Dass and James Naismith himself would be proud. I’m ready to walk across hot coals for these guys.

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Game Recap: Aztecs hammer UNLV by 38 points LOL

There are two ways to look at what transpired Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena, where the San Diego State men’s basketball team crushed UNLV 94-56 in what felt like a November paycheck game against a Southland Conference team that starts a 6-foot-5 power forward wearing a headband and goggles.

On one hand, you’d be forgiven if you came away a little bitter.

Where the hell has this been? That aggressive defense, that commitment to doing something on offense besides jacking threes, that perfect use of the bench. If SDSU stated playing like that a couple of months ago we’d be talking about NCAA Tournament seeding rather than the thrilling quest to avoid the conference tournament play-in round.

On the other hand, LOLOLOLOL eat it UNLV.

The Aztecs just rained merciless destruction on one of our most hated rivals, delivering the biggest beating ever in this series. Keep in mind, that spans 69 games and includes several seasons in the ’90s when SDSU was seriously putrid. The Rebels are probably hitchhiking back to Vegas right now while Malik Pope joyrides their team bus through Pacific Beach. At least I hope so.

Yeah, I’m feeling like going with option No. 2 here. Today was awesome, so I say let’s sit back, relax and enjoy the following video of SDSU beating UNLV with a pillowcase full of doorknobs, metaphorically. Mostly metaphorically.

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