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.
I had misgivings about this game from the start. San Diego State had traveled to a wounded but proud city to play a team inspired to honor its fallen friends and neighbors. A win here wasn’t going to feel good, no matter what.
Then the game started and my misgivings mounted. The Aztecs opened with a methodical drive that stalled at the 1 when Rashaad Penny stunningly fumbled a pitch. SDSU forced a three and out and promptly marched back down inside the 10 … only to settle for the field goal.
Total domination, and a 3 point lead.
That start was the college football version of picking up a hitchhiker on a lonely highway in a horror movie. You just knew by the end of the game, we were going to be staggering for shelter toward a creepy, half-collapsed barn and … oh no, no, NO … don’t go in there! This is baaaaaad!
And then the Aztecs beat UNLV 41-10.
I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about this team.
One of the best things about having Rocky Long coach of your favorite football team (besides, you know, the winning) is how meme-worthy he is. Rocky has a colorful, unconventional personality, as was on display in his incredible postgame comments about The Blackout.
My blog cohorts and me are gleeful purveyors of these dankest of dank memes. For example:
These are all very good, mostly because they seem to contain kernels of truth gleaned from Long’s public persona. But the best Rocky Long meme out there is one this humble blog cannot take credit for. It’s this:
Trey Kell had been showing faint signs of becoming Trey Kell again. He shot 50 percent from the field in back-to-back blowouts of San Jose State and Utah State – a welcome sight after three absolutely brutal performances (6-for-30, brutal) to start conference play.
Still, the junior hadn’t looked like Trey Kell, Dangerous Scorer Man since before Christmas.
Until Tuesday night.
Kell went off for 24 points to lead that Aztecs to their first true road victory of the season – naturally another win over UNLV at the Thomas & Mack, 64-51. It’s nice to know that even in what has to this point been a down year, we can still walk into the Rebels’ house and help ourselves to the liquor cabinet and whatever’s in the fridge.